“Hey, I’m back,” she cries, spread-eagled. “Did you miss me?”
For two years now I’ve been wedged in a crate wondering if she’d ever return. She, on the other hand, has been gallivanting around the world, seeing other mattresses.
Out With the Old And In With the New
Yes, my mattress has been unemployed for a while. It’s pretty stained. Not with the visible, but the invisible kind – the residual weight of unbidden memories. Question is, can I accept the stains just the way they are, or might a new mattress be a wise idea, essential even?
Who Needs Memory Foam?
My mattress knows me intimately, better than I once knew myself. It has watched silently without comment or judgment throughout the heartache, fury, bliss, turmoil, and joy of recent years.
Take a peek under the covers to learn more. Viewer discretion advised.
- It remembers my daughter at 15, sleeping beside me after her first brain surgery. It remembers the fifty staples holding together that piece of her skull removed to extract the tumour. The staples work, the surgery doesn’t.
- It remembers Bob, the man who balanced out the bed. And me. No sooner here than gone. It remembers the 5 a.m. call to tell me he is dead. Later that evening it remembers my daughters snuggling with me, holding my hand. It remembers my sister who, with pizza in-hand, joins the gathering of the clan. We share stories about the man I loved. Who we all loved. In the months that follow it remembers how we become inseparable, with more hours spent in bed than out. Shattered by life’s cruel indifference, it becomes the perfect hideout.
- It remembers the pitch-black room of Christmas Eve 2009, and the tenderness of a man who lies down beside me; fully clothed this time. Pulled tight to his chest, he silently wipes my tears with his thumb, his sleeve, his kisses. There’s a lot of wiping.
Next door my daughter, now 23, lays on a hospital bed mattress, a nurse at her side. With four intravenous drips inserted just hours earlier, she drifts in and out of a drugged fog. The nurse props her up to watch the action in the living room where her younger sister, aunt, father and grannie desperately attempt to celebrate what we know will be her final Christmas.
When the weight of words is too heavy it’s best to say nothing at all. He knows this. I wish others did too. He never lets me go. Not until the house, and I, are quiet again.
- Mostly it remembers the day, exactly one month later, when I walk home from the hospital, enter the back door, and crawl under the covers. It is a different bed now. Even it wonders if it can bear the weight of this unfathomable loss. This is the bed-after-Rachel-died.
The Music of the Night
Our mattress is our night home. Like all homes it offers a space to love and be loved. A place to make a little music, or a lot. But only a mattress sees the thrashing of souls lying, as we do, so vulnerable in the night hours.
You and I both know mattresses are the keeper of all secrets. They know everything.
Show empathy to everyone you meet. You never know about the stains on their mattress.
It’s A Keeper
Wondering if a new day home requires a new night home, keeps me awake for hours. Two years have passed. I am not the same person, nor is it the same mattress.
Maybe it is the best place to count my blessings, to find the same courage to endure, to dream big dreams.
I’ve been here a week and we’re doing fine, stains ‘n all.
I think it’s a keeper.
It’s good to have you home. I missed you.
What about the stains on your mattress? What would make you shop for a new one?
Image Credits: Topos Graphics, Wikipedia, Aaron Anderson
Becky, i too have not changed the mattress on which my eleven year old said goodbye on 9th April 2012, as she passed into her deep sleep. i miss her so much. that mattress, which she always said was so lumpy is some strange connection. it does need changing it holds so many memories. when she came out of hospital from her first tumour age 2.5. i remember buying this big bed, that we could all snuggle into. i can’t say more now. your entry has made me cry. it’s okay to cry sometimes. life moves on and we are blessed for what we had and have but right now, i am sad as i miss your girl for you and my girl for me. x
Ah, Anita. Thank you so, so much for sharing this story with me. I love that you hold the memory of her in your bed. It is still such early days, and my heart goes out to you. It is Thanksgiving in Canada, a time to remember and be grateful for all we do have in our lives. Yes, we are blessed to have had and loved our girls in this lifetime. Hugs to you x
Oh… I’m crying now
Makes me think about the expression of being ‘reduced’ to tears, when in fact, crying is nature’s way of helping us clear out all the sludge. How about we are ‘enlarged’ to tears?
I am at a loss on how to respond. To simply like your blog seems so inadequate and yet what can I say. I am glad that you share your thoughts even though it makes for painful reading. I just wanted to let you know that even though I am a long way off and we seldom meet up I think about you and care xx
Thanks so much, Rachel. This writing is so healing. Bringing my experiences out in the open hopefully helps others talk about their own difficult memories.
I too was acutely aware of the role my mattress played in supporting the weight of my grief after Bob was killed. After a time I felt as though I has filled all the spaces between the springs with my sorrow, fear and anger. It had to go.
I love your description of it being all filled up. Just imagining the heaviness, the fullness of it is a great metaphor for all that grief.
This is something I’m not sure I would have thought to think before. My mattress from my old place(s) is now my dad’s mattress, it’s not mine anymore. I still have the memories but they wouldn’t be linked with that mattress. The mattress that I’ve been sleeping on since Phil and I moved in to our place is actually the mattress that was either his dad’s or it was in the spare room of his dad’s home. Phil’s dad passed away 6 years ago and when discussing the idea of getting a new mattress (because it is well over 6 years old) he is really hesitant to respond and it’s always with a ‘maybe’. I always got that it held sentimental values, but after reading this I think I get it just that bit more.
I`ve only just read your latest blog – Your words have given words for me as to the reasons I do so adore my current mattress….my bed! It`s the one we bought when we moved to our new home in August 2009. Our previous mattress was crippling me physically + with what it held within!
I feel safe, comfy & home on my bed. I also can use it as an escape! Even though it`s relatively new it `knows` because it knows me!
I`ve thought for a long time now about telling my story of the road I`ve travelled in my adult life – I`m not there yet! Not sure! Would it make a difference? Does it need to? Do I really want to share?
Mmmmmmmm! Time on my hands to contemplate whilst on Sick Leave…..
For now I take solace & comfort in my bed + allow my mattress to nurture me for another day…..
Hoping you & your mattress are settled into your new abode?
Hi Fiona, thanks for sharing this about your mattress. I’m wondering too about writing of your earlier years. As a firm believer in the therapeutic value of writing I’d suggest being open to it. Nothing you write need ever be seen by another soul – that’s what makes it healing. Imagining it in a public arena can be a sure way to get off track or simply a reason to never even begin.
If you’re interested in reading some books about writing as a healing tool, check out ‘Becky’s Book Table’ under ‘Books’ at the top of my Home page. Susan Zimmerman’s book is incredible, so too is Louise de Salvo’s.
Take care my friend.