Tuesday, March 26, 2013

I need a new bed

There, I've said it.

We bought the current bed in 1996 when Greg and I got engaged and we were planning our lives together.  Neither of us had a decent bed, so we bought a new one.

New lives and all.

That bed has had a lot of use in the intervening years.  ...and not just for sleeping on ;)

Our first bed in our first home together.

The place where our daughter was conceived.

The place where we snuggled and read and slept and snoozed and connected every single night under a hand-stitched quilt. 

The bed that I had to come home to After, and look at the indent where he should be.  The bed that I lay in each night and hold a one-sided conversation with the vacant side.

The bed that still holds his shape deep within its fibres.

Our bed.


According to my chiropractor, after 17 years the bed needs to be replaced.
...and my left hip agrees with him.

My mind agrees with him too ... but my heart is not so sure.  My heart thinks that I am leaving yet another part of the old life behind; leaving a little bit more of Greg behind.  A part of life that I really wouldn't want to change ... except for the recurring hip pain from sleeping on fabric stretched too tight over barely-padded springs.

...and so today, as this post goes live, I will be at the furniture store, trying to select a bed that has got half a chance of living up to its predecessor.

I never thought that buying a new bed could ever trigger quite so much grief.


  1. I don't need a new bed because mine is old; we got a Sleep Number bed about 6 months before my Marty died. But I often contemplate a "new bed" because of the sadness that that empty spot next to me creates in my heart. Oh the memories, and not just sleeping either;), especially not just sleeping; but connecting on so many different levels at the end of our days, or even in the middle on the weekends. For the first year and a half, I kept his side of the bed full of everything - books, computer, clothes, pillows - it was totally unconscious, but that spot was "filled" at least with stuff. The past six months, that side of my/our bed has been without "stuff".
    Every night and every morning, I am distinctly reminded that he is not here, nor is he ever going to be here again. That is heavy on my heart. The intimacy created in that place, that spot is just too much. The vulnerability, the conversations, his scent, his smile, his laugh, his snoring, the tears, the problem solving, the fun, the history that now I keep all to myself. Hate this.
    I often think if I was going to get a new bed, I would get a twin size; then there would be no room for another human being and maybe the reminders of who is not here would be less? Though I know, I will NEVER forget.
    You're right, a new bed, and actually just writing about my bed, brings forth just more grief to process. Most don't understand this. Thank you.

  2. It's amazing how "things" carry so much connection and spirit. I can relate. Hang in there. Maybe you can tell yourself, "If Greg was here today, and we both needed a new mattress, how would WE go about buying one?"

    I've had to open my understanding to the fact that my Stu isn't in these physical things. The emotions I "think" are embedded in these items are actually in my heart, and that can't be replaced, because it never needs to be.

    The simple fact that you acknowledged and wrote a beautiful post about this, and sent it off to the world to share and feel goes far beyond a physical "mattress."

  3. I totally get this, Amanda. When I sold our house and moved, I bought a new double bed, thinking I would use our king bed for guests. I couldn't go through with it. So I still use our king bed. I sleep on *his* side, so when I look over to the other side, it seems that *I* am the one who is missing. Weird, I know. Good luck today - it will be hard.

    1. Diane,
      I like your idea of sleeping on "his" side so you are the one missing; hmmm; have to give that some thought. I wonder why I never thought about that? I guess, my side is my side, but now it doesn't matter and that part stinks. Thanks!

  4. I can so relate. Thank you for sharing.

  5. I remember all too well the internal anguish I felt about letting go of The Bed - the one Maggie and I shared for almost our entire relationship. :( I still think about that bed.

    It's startling to be to this day how much emotional energy things can hold.


  6. I just went through this a few months ago. Our bed had actually been his bed prior to us. (over 20 years old) I was taken aback at how difficult it was to shop for the bed until I was in the store. It was almost a panic attack. In the end, I made a decision (a fairly quick decision). I am happy to say that I do love the new bed and have embraced it.

  7. Oh Amanda..your post resonates with me! A couple of years ago, we gave our queen size bed to our daughter when she got her first apartment. We moved to a king size bed. Two weeks ago, she told me the springs were coming through the mattress and she would be dumping "our" bed. The tears came rushing and I crumbled and did consider my possible insanity...so many memories heading to the dump. Ugh!!!!

    Thank you and those who responded for making me feel somewhat normal!!!

  8. I lost our bed the day Dave died.
    I had cleared out much of our bedroom to make room for a hospital bed for him, and borrowed a twin bed for me, in the hopes that I could bring him home. Our mattress set was old and needed replacing anyway, so I took it to the curb since I had no room for it inside.
    But he didn't make it home and died 12 hours after the hospital bed was delivered. (It still kills me that I wasn’t able to get him home. That’s all he wanted in the end.)

    He deteriorated so quickly in the hospital that last week. He went from being able to take care of himself at home to barely being able to walk within days after being admitted. (We only went in for some swelling...)

    Anyway, I came home from the hospital at 4:00am to a bedroom that wasn’t ours. (Our bed was gone and in it’s place was a lonely depressing old school hospital bed.) I gave some family members some money and instructions to buy me a new mattress and begged them to get rid of the hospital bed.
    While I cried (pretending to rest) in a back room that first morning, my family very kindly had the hospital bed removed, and our bedroom put back together.

    I my bed also causes me additional grief. The reason I have a new bed is a shitty one.

    What I’d give to be blissfully ignorant of widowhood and all it entails.

  9. Things are so much more than things... We tend to forget that, we tend to underestimate how much our emotions, experiences and things are entangled, like held together by a web.

    I like what you say, al pepin. You're reminding us that the web that connects it all is still there and alive. Even if it will never be the same, even if our physical circumstances change, like with a new bed... the connections are still there...

    Warm greetings to you Amanda and to you all


    1. Thank you Halina. This blog has arrived for me just in time, and I feel so blessed to read everyones posts. Each one tells the story of love no different than mine.

  10. I keep flipping mine, and moving from side to side in it also. Was once a waterbed, now just a mattress in the frame. I keep telling myself "it's just a mattress", but like most of you, I have difficulty moving on from it...you'd think it would be a no brainer, but so many memories are tied to our possessions, and I have lost so much already. I know I am not getting rid of the memories, but the items trigger them, and I don't want to forget anything. Always hated buying/laying on a mattress in the store anyway, one more excuse to do nothing...

  11. Our bed was the first thing I replaced after my hubby died. It was a 20 year old, old school water bed. No baffles or anything just a mattress filled with water. It had sprung so many leaks over the years but was always repaired in one way or another. Finally after several nights of waking up soaked, I realized it wasnt just the tears. I went out and bought a new bed. I find myself now making a nest of all my pillows and sleeping sideways, still leaving what would have been his side of the bed empty. Sigh...

  12. I, too, had trouble with our King bed. For about 8 months, I kept "stuff" on his side of the bed. It made me less likely to feel the emptiness that existed. When I attempted to clean it off one day, I was not able to sleep and so the stuff was put back on the bed. There were clothes and books and whatever else made its way there. When it came time for a new bed, the grief was overwhelming but in the end it forced me to heal a little bit more- just like getting rid of some of his belongings. I feel your pain and agree that even after years go by, it is surprising when these times of grief still find their way into our hearts.

  13. I also keep stuff on my husbands side of the bed I sleep in..but my husband and I had 2 beds with memories.. The one we both slept in for 24 years and then the one he made-- his own man cave bed one with surround sound, TV, lights, music and even an exact replica of the constellation on the ceiling of the bed in dimmer lights. It is an awesome bed. We shared both. When he became sick we stopped using his bed as he was not able to get in and out of it.. so sad he didn't really even head to it anymore when he first came hime.( He had a brain tumor that stole so much of him from him and us. I know I will keep his bed forever......

  14. Amanda,
    Only about 1 month after my husband passed did I realize I needed to sleep on "his side" the emptiness was too much for me. So now I've been on his side for 7 months and it always feels good to get in and pull up the covers. Fitting into his indentation makes me feel closer somehow to him. Crazy, but I still need all of it. Anything that makes me feel nearer to him I cherish. Maybe you should switch to his side, would it help your hip??

  15. I need a new sofa. My Ken was disabled and he sat at the end of this sofa for years every day. It looks so bad my sister in law mentioned it as I cover the worn spots with a throw. But I can't let it go yet. I can still see Ken sitting there, smiling at me. The more stuff I let go the more distant he feels. Sorry, but for me, he is still a part of these things.

  16. I'm reading your blog entry as I'm listening to Darren Criss from Glee sing "Against All Odds", tears about to fall. It's been 10 months since my husband died suddenly from an undiagnosed blood clot after returning from a business trip to Washington, DC. His packed suitcase is still sitting next to "his side of the bed". I didn't have to think about what to do with the bed because our almost 16-year-old daughter sleeps on his side every night.

  17. We bought a fake sleep number bed about a year before Brian died and it was starting to not work well before he got hurt. After he died I was faced with the decision of having to buy a new mattress. It was an awful time. I was sad that more of his DNA was going to leave my life. I was mad I could't lay where he laid anymore. HIS indentation was going to be gone. I was also worried that people would see it out on the curb and think "oh look at her throwing him away so soon after his death" but I had to do it. At the furniture store I was faced with a computer program to help me decide what kind of mattress was best for me. Then on the screen I saw the questions that also asked about "Your partner's sleep habits". I broke down and low and behold the sales lady told me she was a widow too and had lost her husband at around the same age as I had. I looked up and thanked Brian for putting this woman in my path and making the experience more bearable. Its weird what things that seem so small in the scheme of life become so big in the scheme of widowhood.

  18. My husband and I also bought a new bed together in 1997. I bought a new bed 9 months after his death. This May 31, 2013 will be two years. I still have his packed suitcase in the closet, I still don't sleep on his side of the bed. It's funny though how my side of the bed is exactly how it has always been, and even in this new memory foam mattress, his side is also. See our old bed had always felt more firm on his side even though he was much larger than I am. There was that indentation from me even when we did a 180 degree turn or flip and his side never did. I keep waiting to wake up and see him though and wonder if he would like this mattress.

  19. Thanks for sharing this with us. I understand how you feel. It took me a while to let go most of my hubby’s stuff when he was gone, particularly the bed. But since his last wish was for me to move on after he had passed, and seeing the bed everyday reminded me of him. I had to let go.