For those of you following the story of our life with Asha, it's old news that she doesn't sleep through the night. For those of you who don't know....Asha doesn't sleep through the night. Asha has been a part of our family for just about two and a half years. When she first came to live with us, she slept on a little bed next to our bed. Then she started having seizures and refused to sleep there anymore. In fact, she refused to sleep at all.
I spent about six months sleeping on the bathroom floor with her. She eventually refused to sleep at all in the bathroom, so we moved downstairs to the couch. That is where we have been sleeping for the last two years. By "we", I mean me and Asha or Trevor and Asha. Every night, one of us would go downstairs and get on the couch with Asha. We would sleep there some or all of the night. EVERY NIGHT for two years.
We tried to get Asha to sleep there on her own, but she would wake up around midnight or 1 am and yell for us. When we came back downstairs and got on the couch, she would climb up and lay on us to make sure we didn't get up again.
We tried to get her to sleep upstairs with us again, but she wouldn't do it. There was no settling down and so we ended up back down on the couch.
Almost two years ago I wrote this post about needing sleep. I had only not been sleeping for like 6 months then. Little did I know that I had two more years of sleepless nights ahead of me!
In the last two years, Asha slept through the night 2 times. I remember them both. It has been exhausting. I had given up hope of ever sleeping all night again. I had given up hope of ever sleeping in my bed with my husband all night again. At first I was really sad and angry about it. I would cry and lay awake, mad at the situation. Then I started to accept it. I appreciated the moments of peace when Asha would climb up on the couch and snuggle in with me. Because all she wanted was her mama.
I have been traveling a lot for work lately and so has Trevor. We've had a house sitter who stays the night with the animals. I assumed she was sleeping on the couch with Asha too. Keep in mind, our home has lots of issues. Currently, our biggest challenge in Shilo. He doesn't like anyone coming over to the house and he won't let our sitter into the living room. He has decided that is his domain. I knew this and we are working on it. I never put two and two together. One day, it occurred to me - if she isn't sleeping on the couch with Asha, where are they sleeping? So I asked her. The answer "in the bedroom". She said that Asha sleeps on the floor next to the bed when we are gone. WHAT???
That night, we decided to give it a try. I didn't expect it to work. I was all ready to head back down to the couch. I made a bed next to me on the floor. Asha always wears a leash in the house (so we can grab her when she gets up and runs in a panic). I wrapped her leash around my arm and we all went to sleep. That's right....you heard me....we all went to sleep.
At 2 am, I woke up to an Asha nose in my face. She was resting her chin on the bed. I touched her and she jumped up onto the bed with me, snuggling in and putting her head on my pillow. Back to sleep she went. I woke up about 5:30 and Asha was still asleep. I couldn't believe it.
That was two weeks ago. Asha has slept upstairs, either on the floor or in bed, every night for two weeks. That is more nights of sleep than we have had in the last two YEARS! Every night, I expect that to be the last of it. I expect to find myself back down on the couch. But is hasn't happened yet and I just can't believe it.
Our lives are so very different than we ever imagined. I said to Trevor the other night as I got into bed with Asha's leash around my arm "do you think Asha will ever get to live without having to constantly wear her leash?" and then I said "do you think that I will ever get to live without having to constantly hold her leash?" The truth is that the answer doesn't matter. We'll be happy either way. Asha certainly doesn't care. I look at her sometimes, with her ever present smile and wonder what the hell she is so happy about. Then I realize....she is happy to be alive, she is happy to be loved.
Trevor has been out of town this week and so Asha has been taking up more of the bed than usual. I woke up last night and she was laying behind me, with her paws around me, spooning. I'd say she is comfortable with the new sleeping arrangements.
I am completely and totally in love with this dog. She is the most amazing creature. I learn from her every day - about myself, about the world, about hope and life and love. I know I will never stop learning from her and I will never stop loving her. I am so grateful that she came into my life. And I am so grateful for this early Christmas Miracle of sleep.