I was talking to a widow friend of mine one day and she said "I'm a little embarrassed to tell anyone about this, but I still turn my bedroom light on when it gets dark out. You see, my husband was bed bound near the end and spent a lot of time in the bedroom and I would turn the light on for him every evening when the sun went down. It's a habit I can't seem to break even a year after his death. As soon as it starts getting dark I feel the need to go turn that light on." Then she asked me, "Do you think something is wrong with me?"
I shared with her my similar experience.
My husband had pancreatic cancer and was in pain and he couldn't sleep in the bed at night so he would sleep in the living room on the recliner. Eventually Hospice was able to get him a hospital bed and he slept in in the living room with the TV on and the light on all night.
After he passed away, I too, turned the light on as soon as it started getting dark outside, and I couldn't bring myself to turn it off until the morning light. Even though I wasn't in the room, I could see the glow of the light from my bedroom, and it was somehow comforting to me.
When family came from out of state for his memorial, my daughter in law was reaching to turn the light out one night as everyone was getting ready for bed, and I nearly jumped out of my skin! I said "No, no, we can't turn that light out, Paul always kept that light on!" She said "Okay." But, I'm sure she was thinking I had surely lost it!
Then the evening of his memorial, as it was just starting to get dark, I walked over to the lamp and turned the switch on.
The bulb made a loud POP, POP, POP sound and seemed to explode into fireworks inside itself. It turned every color of the rainbow all at once. I wasn't sure what had just happened. I was a little taken back by it.
I looked around the room to see if I was the only one in the room, and saw my son sitting there. I said "Did you see that?" I wanted someone else to acknowledge what happened because I had never seen a light bulb do that before. When you're in the middle of grief you don't know if what you are seeing is real or not, your mind can play tricks on you sometimes, so I was so glad he said yes, he had seen it. I felt like it was a sign that everything was okay.
My son replaced the bulb in the lamp and I continued to keep that light on every night. In fact I put it on a timer so it would come on by itself if I wasn't home.
So, when my friend asked me if I thought something was wrong with HER for turning the light on every night in the bedroom, I said, "No, I don't think anything is wrong with you at all!"
Shortly after we had that conversation, I started receiving notices from the electric company that I was using more electricity than my neighbors. I started looking around my house for ways to economize, like doing the laundry and running the dishwasher between 9 pm and 9 am, or on the weekends and changing out my regular light bulbs to incandescent, and as I was looking at more ways to save energy, I kept hearing my VERY FRUGAL husband whispering in my ear "Donna, turn out the light. It's time."
I made the decision, walked over and turned out the light, and as I slowly walked away, I kept looking back at the lamp. I wanted to turn around and turn it back on, but I didn't.
I got into bed that night, and looking out into the hallway, I missed the glow from the living room, but I remembered the flash of the bulb, the fireworks, and all the colors of the rainbow, and I knew everything would be okay.
I will lie down and sleep in peace,
for you alone, O Lord,
make me dwell in safety.