The Phantom Cry

I woke to the sound of your cry. My bedroom was pitched black, it was some time in the wee hours of the morning, and I was still warmly and comfortably curled underneath my covers in bed.

This has been our routine the last few weeks. You wake up some time between 2 and 3 in the morning, crying. I walk to your door, reassure you I’m still here, tell you I love you, and tell you to go back to sleep. You normally wail a bit more dramatically when I tell you to back to sleep. You always want me to pick you up and carry you back to my bed so you can sleep beside me. Nevertheless, you’re always asleep again minutes later. I’m not sure why this started or why it continues. You had been sleeping through the night with no issues the preceding months.

I laid in my bed waiting for you to cry again, silently hoping you’d go back to sleep on your own. A few moments later I heard another soft wail, yet I remained in my bed. Something didn’t feel right. There was a nagging thought percolating in the back of my brain. Something was out of place, but what that was eluded me in my foggy state.

the phantom cryAs my consciousness slowly returned and the fog of sleep sluggishly faded away, it finally dawned on me what was out of place.

You weren’t there.

For a moment my mind raced with possibilities. Did your mother break into my house and leave you there? As impossible and improbable as that seems, should I get up and check anyhow? Had I forgotten what day it was? Or was I simply hearing things? Was I dreaming that I had just woken? Why on Earth do I hear your cries when I’m the only human in the house? Was my subconscious merely playing tricks on me?

While my mind raced my ears were keen, awaiting even the slightest sound, but I heard no more cries. After a couple more minutes I decided that I had been hearing things, but then I began to wonder why I had heard your phantom cries. Were you awake at this very moment at your mother’s house? Were you begging her, as you do to me, to sleep in bed with her? Had something happened? Were you alright?

Surely you were fine. Had something horrible happened to you your mom would have called me. I checked my phone to ensure that was the case and the only thing my phone told me was that it was still pretty damned hot outside despite the fact that it was the middle of the night. There were no texts, missed calls, or emails.

I began to doubt myself. Had I really heard crying at all? Was I going insane? Well, even more insane than I already am? Was I merely missing you? Was my body just so used to our nightly routine that it manufactured your cries when they failed to come? I was contemplating all sorts of unlikely scenarios when the sandman dragged me back to Neverland.

When my alarm woke me this morning my first thought was that of what had happened in the middle of the night. I rose from my bed and walked to your room. Your bed was conspicuously empty. Your blankets were in a haphazard pile at the foot of the bed. Your Scout puppy toy was still face down on the floor where it had fallen from your nocturnal grasp the night before.

I’m still left to wonder what this all means, if anything at all. My very worst fear is of something horrible happening to you or your brothers, so the fact that I heard your cries when you weren’t even there has me slightly disturbed. I hope it was just nothing. I hope it was just an illusion of my sleeping subconscious. I don’t know that I could handle it if something happened to you.

 

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About Twindaddy (330 Articles)
Sometimes funny. Sometimes serious. Always genuine.

80 Comments on The Phantom Cry

  1. I’ve “heard” cries when my son is there only to find he soundly asleep. Not sure how I would feel if he weren’t at home. I understand this must have been quite unsettling.

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  2. Wow, I hope everything is okay and that it was just a dream.

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  3. I ached just reading this, feeling like I was reading a horror story I so love . . . but with nervousness instead of glee.

    I wish I had an answer.

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  4. This post requires an update! I hate that feeling you describe. It’s scary when you doubt yourself like that. I hope all is well and what you experienced was nothing more than fatigue.

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  5. I kept hearing the door open last night, thinking Josh was finally home from school. I finally turned my phone back on to see what was going on and he was just running late. Brains are weird.

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  6. ooh man. this would freak me out bad. i’m sure everything is okay, but i absolutely understand your concern.

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  7. Wow, I got goosebumps reading this. I believe that as parents, we are attuned to our children. It is possible that he was in fact crying, even though he wasn’t there, and your psyche just picked up on it? Or it could be that because it’s happened so many mornings before, it’s kind of become a routine, and because there was no crying, your mind made it up?

    But definitely unsettling…

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I think Baby C just trained you to wake up in the middle of the night.

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  9. Here goes a big ***HUG**** from me to you.

    On a normal day, I sleep with my little Girl in her bed, in her room. She sometimes wakes just to check that I am there. If at that point I’m doing something else I go into the room put the dummy in her mouth and comfort (hug, speak to her) her. Sometimes she still drinks her bottle of milk.

    The other week, my Hubby and Girl went to go visit his parents, (a two hour drive off). I could not get off work and he had a much needed break. And you would think that I would finally use this time to sleep through the night. Nope here I was waking up, wondering why the house was so quiet. I lie awake hoping that they were alright.
    Even now, I wake up during the night with the thought that I must check on her – even when she is sleeping sound.

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  10. I hope it was nothing! Very, very scary. :-/

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  11. That’s some fierce resolve not to have picked up the phone to check on him. I know it would have been a huge inconvenience to call her in the middle of the night, but when the feeling of something being off is so strong, it’s hard not to want to check it out. Glad to hear everything is okay.

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  12. I’ve had this happen often enough to ask about it. Usually it is my mom or daughter saying my name. It is real enough for me to turn to find them. It’s mostly only upsetting to me if I can’t immediately check on them. I guess I feel like it could be a sign I need to check on them I don’t know. But Auditory Hallucinations are most common in non Mentally Ill cases when one is stressed, tired, and too much coffee seems to be linked.

    My guess is your subconscious expected it so it produced it. AND you drink a lot of coffee and were tired lol.

    Glad everyone is ok…and YOU are too.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I’ll probably stop over at my mom’s tonight and see him before his mother picks him up.

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  14. Oh, my.

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  15. It is so hard to figure out what the subconscious knows that we don’t.

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  16. I hope everything is okay! Hug them when they are home.

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  17. I think all parents at some point experience things like this!! The first time our son spent time away from home, I thought my dear darling hubby was going to go crazy. I didn’t hear things but I would catch myself looking down the hallway, waiting for him to come running out of his room. He was out of state at my dad’s for two weeks but he called every night so that helped (a little).

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  18. i have a cat that would sometimes wail in the middle of the night and freak me out thinking it was one of the kids. i guess it was a dream… or maybe your unconscious heard something outside that translated it into a baby cry in your head? weird.

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  19. It seems very likely to me that your brains were just being alert as they are used to hearing that cry. Maybe they were just overly alert.
    But this says a lot about you as a parent and it’s all good 🙂

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  20. OMG, so much sweetness and love in this post. You’re killing me here! Your body is so attuned to his needs that you probably woke at the usual time anticipating his cries and ‘heard’ them. I think it’s a wonderful thing and nothing that should disturb you. It shows what a bread daddy you are. Now stop making me cry!

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  21. YIKES! Have you heard back that he’s okay?

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  22. I think we always worry a bit more when there is no control — hence the middle of the night “cry.” That and you miss him. Of course, I miss my little boy too, and that’s just because he is no longer little!

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  23. You’ve articulated every parent’s worst nightmare in stark and vivid terms. Sometimes I wish you were a little less talented in the writing department.

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  24. The mind can do many powerful things. One of them is apparently to ensure that we don’t sleep comfortably.

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  25. Isn’t it crazy what being a parent does to one’s brain. I still wake up from a dead sleep sometimes thinking I hear one of the kids calling me but they’re not. It’s a strange thing and very, very uncomfortable. I’m glad your little one is okay. That’s the most important thing.

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  26. I do a good line in hearing things which aren’t there. The other week at supper I could have sworn I heard the doorbell, but when I went to check, there was no-one there, and none of the sisters had heard the bell.

    I’m with the folks who said it’s just that it’s so routine your brain decided it could hear Baby C crying even though he wasn’t there to make any noise.

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