It hit me shortly after dinner, a fast-moving veil enveloping my head and turning heavy and dark instantly, accompanied by a throbbing that sent piercing daggers of pain to my left ear and behind my right eye. A cold. I was annoyed, but if the last month has taught me anything itis that sometimes giving in from the start is more effective than putting up a fight against the inevitable. I trudged up to bed feeling sorry for myself.

The night brought the usual interruptions—a night terror for Briar, trip to the bathroom from Ave and the molar-growing mews that have had Fin in our bed every night this summer. Each time I tapped Sean’s shoulder and pled for him to go. He did, but still the sleep escaped, my ears straining to hear even as my sinuses bellowed, “put your head down or we’ll explode.” I buried my face in the cool folds of my pillow and willed myself to sleep.

Not slipping from my bed to pad through each room, making the rounds unbidden, I fell into the dreams of a daughter. Maybe it was not answering their calls, whatever it was, I spent the night trying to save my mom. Foggy corridors with her standing just beyond my reach peppered with face-to-face encounters where I was faced with her certain death if I didn’t act. I twisted in my sheets, calling for help to get her to Boston, pleading for her heart not to succumb to the vines ensnaring it in a dark place where it threatened to stop beating. I lost my foot, water sluiced over my hands, I lost my grip and shot past windows and faces.

Help me.


I can’t.


I woke as sunlight kissed my face. The pages of my dream came rushing back and I shook my head. Silence. The bed was empty. No babies. No Sean. No mom. I listened, finally exhaling as I heard the familiar sounds of Saturday morning. My body slipped back into the sheets and I closed my eyes. Mom, daughter, wife, sister, dreamer. Me. I drifted back to sleep and there was nothing but soft indigo as I melted into peace.

The light changed and I opened my eyes to see Fin. She was watching me, scanning my face to decipher why I hadn’t woken yet. I blinked and whispered, “Good morning.” I watched her face, tiny dimples appearing over her eyebrows as she continued to pore over my face. I waited until she said, “I love you mom. I love you to better.”

Night and day collided. The daggers hit my heart.

There may not be fixing or saving, but I do believe in loving to some kind of better.