to make the effect of a fall or hit less painful, for example by having something soft in the way:
His landing was cushioned by the fresh snow that had fallen.
to protect someone from an unpleasant situation or the unpleasant effects of something
cushion the blow/impact (of something)
generous leaving allowances to help cushion the blow of redundancy
cushion somebody from/against something
Parents today often feel their children should be cushioned from the outside world.