– In loving memory of my mother –
Many years ago my mother asked me this riddle, probably in the hopes of occupying the mind and time of an overly analytical (and maybe a bit precocious) child. She asked me “Do I think that the first bed was invented by a very tired person or a very lazy person?”
For years I would wrestle with this question whenever I needed to fill a dull moment and especially when my mother passed away. It was the memory of how we used to talk and debate that are amongst my fondest memories of her. She may not have been the most nurturing or affectionate of mothers but I rank her as one of the best people that I ever had the good fortune to talk to. As a conversationalist and confidante she will always be missed.
My mother died before I got sick and while I am glad that she is not alive to see me go through these difficult, heartbreaking and endless battles, I do miss the ability to talk to her and laugh with her during the hard times. Thankfully I have several people who are very close to me that are able to assist with this, and I love them dearly for it.
One of the regrets that I have that my mother passed away to cancer, was that I miss our conversations, she died much too early and painfully and finally I believe that I now have an answer for her riddle.
When we imagine beds we imagine them as being a place soft comfort for a tired and weary worker, we may also see them as a hideaway from the rest of the world for the idle and the lazy, but sadly the other function they perform is that of a necessary confinement for those too sick to leave them. These days I fight for every moment that I can leave my bedroom. I pay for every moment that I am not resting in my bed and even when I lay in my frilly, girly, soft sheets, they provide very little by way of comfort or escape from the pain and symptoms that I share my body with. My bed is not a luxury or a place of idle distraction, it is a my ‘life support’, my hospital, my confinement, my prison, my closest friend, my reminder of my health and my world. I have a love/hate relationship with my bed but there is no where else that accepts me, holds me, feels my pain, hears my tears and I there for me no matter what I am going through.
The answer to the riddle for me is that the bed was intended serve as protector for the sick and unwell as they suffer, as they heal, as they rest and in the final hours before they die, which is why hospitals are full of them and it is where you will find the chronically ill and sometimes its the last place you will see a loved one before they die.