So, my whole family has a cold right now. Those of you who know Eliana’s story probably remember this, but for those who don’t know, the very first step of this journey into h**l was…you guessed it-our whole family coming down with a cold. So many times in the last few days I’ve been talking to someone and said those exact words. “Our whole family has a cold.” It sounds so innocent, inconvenient at worst, but I feel the vise of grief squeeze my heart every time the words slip out of my mouth. What I thought was just a little cold started the downward spiral that eventually resulted in my baby dying.

The cold bug seems to have hit me the worst this time. I mentioned to my husband that I might end up sleeping in the recliner tonight because my nose is so stuffy that my head feels like it’s going to explode. As soon as I said it I almost collapsed on the floor in a heap. I just wanted to scream and cry until I couldn’t cry any more. This time practicality won out and I settled for a few tears. My nose is so stuffy it hurts to cry.

img_2312-2The reason I was so upset, though, is because that’s how Eliana and I spent our last week at home. Her poor little nose was clogged up too, so we spent our nights and nap times propped up in the recliner with pillows and a cushy blanket. She could breathe a lot easier being upright on my chest than she could on her back. Even though we were all sick, it is one of my favorite memories. I love that we got to snuggle and nurse and rock and sleep. I love that I have the picture in my head of us all cozy and safe and warm. And I love that I had that much time with her before our world got turned upside down.

As soon as I thought about sleeping in the recliner, I immediately realized that the last time I slept there, I was holding Eliana. I figured if I did sleep there I’d end up taking out her blanket and teddy bear and crying myself to sleep, and I got so scared; scared that I wouldn’t be able to stop the tears, scared that the physical re-creation of those tender moments would send me back into the pit, scared to let go the tenuous grasp I have on feeling somewhat okay.

Grief is sometimes a silent predator. It strikes when I least expect it, and am least equipped to deal with it. Out of the blue, it pounces, and tries to devour me. I know by now that it won’t succeed, but that doesn’t stop the pain that I feel while I wrestle with it. I still have the urge to run, but I know it wouldn’t do any good. Grief is an impatient opponent, and it waits for no one. I must face it or it will follow me wherever I go.img_2564

It’s time now to go sleep, and since my nose has not miraculously cleared up, I know where I’m headed. What used to be just a recliner is now a place of danger, fear, sadness, joy, tenderness, love, and heartbreak. I don’t know which emotion will win this time, but at least I have a blankie and teddy to help me through the fight.

Note: Just thought I’d add this humorous update on my night. Grief had some stiff competition last night…from my husband’s snoring. =)  I was sitting there trying to go to sleep and couldn’t because he was so loud. Frustration over that won out over the sadness. I had taken the same blanket that Eliana and I used out of the hall closet and used that to wrap up. I just basked in the memories of holding her under that same blanket, but didn’t break down like I expected. That doesn’t mean that tonight it won’t happen exactly as I feared, but for last night, I got a break.