My husband, Matt, snores like a bear. When we were first married, I barely slept the night through. As soon as he fell asleep, the sounds that resonated from that man were heard in every part of our house; the walls would rattle and pictures would shake.
Teens and their bands could be practicing next door, but it would be the teens banging on the wall, telling us to keep it down.
I went in search of every ear plug known to man. I found foam plugs that were supposed to mold to my ear, thus eliminating any sound from getting in. Problem with those, however, were that they felt weird. It was akin to ramming chewed gum in my ear canal; I couldn’t wait to get them out and clean my ears.
I tried plastic and water filled ones and even an industrial pair. But they were either too much of a pain to keep in, they didn’t work or they worked so well, I couldn’t hear my alarm clock.
So, I did what humans have an uncanny ability to do – adjust. I got used to the sound of a freight train next to me all night. I even stopped worrying about pictures falling on me.
When the kids were babies, Matt would hold them on his massive chest in his La-Z-Boy. They grew up thinking all men snored loud enough to rattle pictures. When they were cranky, he would get them, sit in his chair, fall asleep and snore. It put them right out. I have a myriad of pictures of this big man with these tiny babies sound asleep on their daddy.
As they got older, nightmares or thunderstorms would send them into our room. We’d set up sleeping bags and they’d fall fast asleep listening to Matt snore.
Thunderstorms had nothing on him.
Then, after a sleep study, we found the cause. It was determined that Matt had one of the worst cases of sleep apnea ever recorded. When I picked him up the next morning, the study guy wanted to meet me. He had to see the woman who’d managed to sleep next to noises rivaling a sonic boom for over 20 years.
I was so proud (I’m easy that way).
To keep Matt alive, he was sent home with a breathing device that was to be put over his nose and mouth, forcing a constant stream of air and eliminating the apnea. He hated it because he said he looked like Darth Vader. I loved it, because it would keep him alive. I didn’t realize that it would also stop his snoring.
I went from sleeping next to a bear to complete and total, deafening silence. I couldn’t sleep.
The irony hit me; I’d tried for years to drown out his snoring, but now I missed it. I’d come full circle; adjusting to the noise and now, the absence of it. Life is funny that way.
I still get my “fix," though. When he falls asleep watching TV, I hear the now comforting, and missed, roar. And I realized that his night time silence has added years to his life; years we can spend together.
Silence is golden.