Trauma is a funny thing, isn't it? You can heal, but it still peeks out sometimes.
I woke up screaming last night for the first time in years. It was a chilling dream; it felt so real. I swear my eyes were open. He was standing right there, leaning over me. And then my already open eyes snapped open, startled by my own scream.
Even when I had the nightmares before, I rarely screamed out loud. I've never screamed so beautifully. It echoed in the room for a few minutes, my terror lingering as I shook and cried, curled up in a little ball around the cat, my back pressed against my husband. I focused on his breathing until I could find my own.
Still shaken this morning, I am overwhelmed with gratitude that it's been so long I forgot how it felt. That I have a loving husband in my bed now. That the cat is always there to snuggle me while I cry. The panic could have lasted hours, but I was not alone this time.
Even now, with my husband off to work hours ago and the sun not to rise for another 40 minutes or so, I'm shaken but at a certain point of peace. I know how to calm myself now. I know how to hold myself now. My favorite soothing playlist, the candle lit, cinnamon boiling on the stove, and a book, all swaddled in fuzzy blankets under Christmas lights. The nightmare is over. I am safe. I am here. Everything is okay.