Thursday, January 7, 2010
The Shrinking Bed
Last night as I lay awake at 2:30 am, it suddenly occurred to me that my bed had begun to shrink. I don't exactly know when this happened, but it certainly had.
I live in what is considered a small Victorian style row house. The home is long and narrow, with very small bedrooms. When Michael moved into my home he decided to sell off his furniture since my home was already furnished. One piece of furniture he would rather have not sold was his bed. Michael had a queen size bed, and I had a full, which is smaller. Michael was 5'11'', and I am a mere 5'8''. I had always been perfectly happy with the smaller bed, as it was a good fit in the small bedroom. Michael's complaint was that the bed was too short in length for his height. I said yes that's true, but it I am happy to give up more than my share of the bed. The reality was that even if we wanted a larger bed, getting it into the bedroom would have been quite tricky. Anyway, it all worked out just fine, as he tended to sleep with his head next to mine, and the rest of his body at an angle.
It later broke my heart when Michael's tumor had progressed to the point that he could no longer get himself in and out of bed without falling and hurting himself. His tumor was primarily in his right frontal lobe, so he began to lose his ability to move the left side of his body. In time the tumor spread throughout his brain, and he became confused and disoriented. I knew that the time had come to get him a hospital bed. The day that the hospital bed was due to arrive I went out and bought a narrow foldaway bed for me to sleep in. Although our mattress size was not that big, the actual bed, a double stacked chest bed, was rather large.
Those that have been reading my posts for awhile may know that I often reference going down to our bedroom, as it is located in the basement. This was a significant obstacle once Michael's symptoms had progressed. The day the hospital bed arrived I had safely in my daughter bedroom which is on the main floor. Once I had finished dismantling our bed, I placed the two individual beds side by side in the middle of the room. I then carefully assisted Michael down to our bedroom, and onto the hospital bed. I tried my best to explain to him that there were now two individual beds, and why this had to happen. I eased him onto the hospital bed, then turned to get his comforter to cover him with. When I turned back toward my sweet Michael, he was laying at an angle, across both beds with his head on my pillow.
I love him so much. Although this memory still breaks my heart, it also puts a smile on my face. It took several nights for him to understand that he now needed to sleep solely on his bed, as there was a metal bar between the beds that made it uncomfortable. As he appeared determined to continue sleeping at an angle, with his head on my pillow, I just started piling extra pillows and blankets to provide cushion over the metal bar.
After Michael died I chose to sleep in the hospital bed for the first few nights. Then one night I decided it was time to stop. I called the medical supply company and asked them to come pick up the hospital bed. They were not able to come out to my home the same day, so I dismantled the hospital bed, and piled it all to the side of the bedroom. I went into the garage, and dragged our mattress back into the bedroom, and laid it on the floor. There I slept until my three brothers arrived in town a couple of days later. We all went down to my bedroom, and began the process of putting my large bed frame back together. This became emotionally overwhelming for me. I was feeling both sorrow, and comfort, in the loving process of reassembling our bed.
That night as I crawled into our bed, I realized that it had doubled in size since the last time I laid there with Michael. It felt the size of an ocean. There was too much space, and I couldn't find comfort. I got up out of bed, and grabbed every pillow I could, and laid them across the bed at an angle. I got back in bed, put my arms around the pillows, and cried.
It has now been almost four months since Michael died. The earliest I ever fall asleep is around 2 am. Some nights, like last night, sleep just doesn't arrive. And as I lay awake in bed, I realized that at some point in the last four months, our bed had begun to shrink.
My body has begun to occupy more space.