The Stains On The Mattress

“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 Newoldnew3

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. secrets

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