Every night when I am going to bed, I put my forehead on Madeline’s urn and I talk to her. I end every conversation by saying, “Please come see me in my dreams.” I not-so-secretly hope that I’ll get a glimpse of her of how she would be if she were still here and five years old, but that hasn’t happened. Unfortunately, I can count on less than one hand how many times I’ve dreamed about her, and of those dreams, the majority have been replays of memories, like watching one of the videos I have of her on repeat.

Until these last few days, that is. I’ve had some extremely vivid dreams about her, and they have all been horrible. I struggle to wake from them, and when I finally do I am terrified, confused, and sick. In the mornings, I feel like a shell of myself. I’m unsettled and anxious all day. If I had to choose between only having these nightmares or never dreaming about her again, I would choose the latter.

I think about death a lot. Well, not a lot per se, but probably more than a typical thirty-three-year-old. Death has impacted my life a lot in these last four years. I think about Madeline’s death, and how frantic and horrible it was. Everyone in the hospital room was agitated and terrified. Was she? I don’t know. I hope not. I wish I could have held her when she died. Would that have made it less horrible? No. But maybe it would have been a little more peaceful, a little more calm. But it’s done, I can’t change it. It still would have been the worst day of my life. And I think about Jackie’s death. She died at home, surrounded by love. But it was still horrible, because she was leaving. But I don’t have nightmares about her. There’s no good way to die, but there are better ways than some.

I’m so tired, and my hormones are crazy. Everything feels exaggerated and difficult. I am going through a perfect storm of stressors that are contributing to this vicious cycle, and getting ready for a new baby is emotional even under the best of circumstances. I know this will pass, I just hope it’s soon.

I know the things I need to do to manage my anxiety and grief. I’m changing my night routine, finding ways to trick my mind, stuff like that. But also, I just need to let myself have a really, really good cry.