My mother just spent 10 days with me in my apartment, over Christmas and my third chemo treatment. Unlike some of her other trips where we had different accommodation and sleeping arrangements, this time she slept every night in my bed with me. Tonight I’m finding I miss her presence beside me, and I’m thinking about what a gift it has been to share this intimacy with her.
I like sleeping alone. Which is not to say I don’t like sharing my bed. But I do like sleeping alone.
I have a king-size bed, and I like the luxury of having all this space to myself (well, myself and two cats, who typically spend most of the night with me).
For about thirty years – until this past summer – I slept on a mattress on the floor. I liked the simplicity of it, the minimalism of it. It reminded me of low Japanese beds, which appeal to me.
Then before my surgery my mom suggested I might want to have my bed higher off the ground. She worried that after my surgery I wouldn’t be able to get in and out of bed as easily. Plus she was already thinking about possibly staying with me, and knew that she couldn’t get in and out of my bed on the floor.
The first few times Mom slept with me this fall were weird. There’s always the keen awareness of another body nearby, their sounds, their nightly rhythms, their ups and downs. Not to mention staggered bed- and waking times to adjust to. (I go to bed earlier and wake up earlier than most people, including Mom.)
I think Mom was the most hypervigilant when she noticed me up in the middle of the night – especially after my first chemo, when I was so sick. Always a mother…
But this last stretch it felt so comfortable. We both slept pretty well each night (and I even started sleeping in past my usual 6:30 a.m. wake-up time, due to her influence!).
Tonight I’m thinking about the other people I’ve shared beds with. My parents, when I was little and had bad dreams. My sister. Friends at sleepovers. Co-workers, in motel beds on days off, when I was a tree planter. Lovers. My niece and nephew.
There’s comfort in sharing a bed.
I miss my mom already.