I reached out in the night to make sure he was there. He had rolled over onto his stomach, as he often does by early morning, separating from holding me. I felt his hair in the dark, it's longer now than usual and I love how it feels in my hand. My hand slid down onto his broad shoulders and I instantly felt better. I had woken with something from a dream bothering me, thoughts of friends who are struggling were swirling in my head. A couple of my close friends are going through nasty divorces and many others are going through rough times in their marriages. I'm not sure they will stay together. Still other friends have parents aging, sickness and diseases setting in or progressing rapidly, Alzheimer's, cancer, Parkinson's and many other sicknesses. We are the sandwich generation. I lost both my parents early, before I turned forty, they were both gone. Mark lost his Dad when he was just a toddler and his Mom only two months ago. We are raw with pain. My heart hurts for many, including my husband who I know is struggling with the loss of the only parent he knew. It seems I am constantly praying for others. Happiness seems to be tough to find as I see so many who are in such pain. I know happiness is out there, we actually have many friends who are in great marriages and have healthy, wonderful parents. But these divorces have rocked me and I'm in a vulnerable state. I have no reason to think my life will become the hatred I see my friends going through, but I'm a child of divorce. I get needy and I ask for reassurance as I try to work through the pain I seem to absorb through my friends. I remember the pain I lived as a child and it floods my thoughts, day and night. Mark is used to this, he knows I need his reassurance often right now, but soon, I'll be strong again. He rides it, knowing I'll be myself soon enough, until the next time I get rocked by another break up or death. It seems we are in the age of divorce and our elderly parents getting sick. Death is all around us too, not just elderly, but young spouses also. This is a stage of life I'm not seeing an ending to. I often want to go back to the friends getting married and having babies stage of our 20's and 30's. Luckily, I can see that coming through our children, our friend's children, our nieces and our nephews. They have and will bring a different joy back into life, with their unions and the starting of their own families. I have one grandniece and she brings me immense happiness, much like I envision grandchildren bring. I can see the horizon, as the next generation ages and joy fills my heart with new love. Stages of life are filled with ups and downs. This seems to be mostly a down stage, I see much pain, but it is mixed with joy too, as life always is. So I caress his shoulders, remembering I am loved and once again, I feel peace in the darkness of the night.