The most comforting sound I've ever heard is the sound of you breathing deeply (and occasionally snoring) next to me.
I know that the bed isn't very comfortable, and my pillows are too big, lumpy, and oddly shaped, but I'm glad you get comfortable with me; the weight of you is soothing, and I like pressing my face up against your smooth back in the dark while the neighbor's dogs bark (for no reason). It is becoming increasingly harder to sleep in my own bed without the sound of you next to me. Thinking about things like this reminds me of my grandparents.

Gramma always gave Grampa a hard time about his snoring, but after he passed, she slept with the TV on so she didn't have to sleep in the quiet of their big bed alone, (even though he passed away while they were in the midst of a divorce).
Gramma started sleeping with the TV on when Grampa moved out. For a long time, I was very upset at Gramma, and being Grampa's girl (affectionately called "Criddle"), I was angry with her for years after he passed. Gramma remarried her deceased best-friend-from-high-school's husband, John McGrew about 11 months after Grampa passed away, which was 13 months after their divorce was final. John had nursed Gramma's best friend Mary-Ellen for several years before Mary-Ellen lost the battle to some form of cancer.

I guess Gramma and John gravitated to one another out of loneliness or nostalgia, or something I was too young and bitter to understand. I held onto that bitterness for a very long time, unfortunately. I was still Gramma's little chickadee, and on the rare occasions when John wasn't annoyed by my presence, I'd go spend an afternoon with Gramma. But I still felt animosity toward her, I still always felt like she never really loved Grampa, especially if, after 45 years of marriage, she could just get over him, and marry someone else so quickly.

When Gramma started to get sick, my family watched her get weaker by the day. She had always talked practically about her death, we knew she wanted to be cremated, and possibly have her ashes scattered. It wasn't until things got really serious and she was too lethargic to walk or stand that she whispered to the family that she wanted her ashes scattered... with the ashes of Grampa.

"I miss him," she said with shiny, far away eyes through loud gasps. It was such a struggle for her to breathe.

It never occurred to me that Gramma missed Grampa, or that she had been affected by his passing. In my 21 years, I had never seen Gramma cry, or mourn, or be anything but strong and independent. As the next few years dripped by, we knew she was slowly losing her strength to Lou Gehrig's disease and I watched Gramma deteriorate and lose everything she was proud of. All her grandbabies moved away to places she couldn't protect them (with the exception of Brother and I). She couldn't stand or walk on her own anymore; she gave up the Hula, line dancing, tap, and Jazz classes she loved so much, she couldn't cook or make candy any more. Gramma was bored. She started giving things away, I guess she figured that she would be going soon, and rather than have us sort through her things, she wanted to see us have them. I was scared.

I sometimes wonder if, on the morning she passed, she smiled when she realized what was happening. If she thought about her idea of Heaven, or thought about Grampa. And if she thought about him, was it Grampa like I remember him? False teeth, gray hair, flannel shirt. Or was it Grampa like she remembered him? Dark, thick, hair, tall and lean, a player on his high school's football, basketball, and track teams, or maybe in his Navy uniform. Did she think of us grandbabies? And if so, was it the adult kids we'd become? Or was she thinking about us all milling about with diapered bottoms and ruffled socks? I'm getting away from the point, here, I think.

I am bringing this all up because I know that, no matter what happens, I will always miss the sound of you sleeping peacefully, wrapped up in blankets that smell like us. Whether we have only a few more months, or several years stretching before us, I'm remembering you as mine, and praying to some entity that I will always be lucky enough to hear you sleeping next to me.

Snor"ing, n. Physiol.

The act of respiring through the open mouth so that the currents of inspired and expired air cause a vibration of the uvula and soft palate, thus giving rise to a sound more or less harsh. It is usually unvoluntary, but may be produced voluntarily.


© Webster 1913.

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