There are those times when something happens, something that you don’t think is special at all, that will trigger such strong memories and emotions. I had to have some emergency dental work done today. Not exactly ideal, or fun, for a Friday afternoon, but part of my tooth broke off, so yup, off to the dentist it was. Now, you might not give a second thought to your dentist, or the relationship you have with your dentist, but my family dentist passed away a year ago this April from a massive stroke. Another, much younger, dentist has since taken over his practice. He’s really nice, and great at what he does, but he’s no Dr. B. Dr. B was awesome, he was my dentist for over 20 years. He was one of those people that made you feel like an old friend, like you were going to have coffee with him, not have your tooth drilled. He was one of the happiest, smiliest, and most genuinely kind people I had ever known. Dr. B hummed or sang the whole time he was working on your mouth. When he passed away, I was in shock, my whole family was. His family, his patients, his friends, his coworkers, his congregation… all in shock.
Today while the dentist was administering the local anesthetic with a really long, really fine needle, I had a flashback, and right there, under the bright light with my mouth wide open and starting to go numb, I had to fight back my tears. The last time I had had any dental work done was 2 years prior with Dr. B. I remember telling him to never retire, that I didn’t want anyone else to be my dentist. Dr. B laughed and said to me “Natalie, you don’t want these shaky hands working on you when I’m old and gray”.
I couldn’t stop thinking about that today. I remember Dr. B administering the same anesthetic 2 years prior and saying those exact words to me. Life happens, it goes on, but not always according to your plans. Dr. B was madly in love with his wife, his family, his grandchildren. He was entering semi-retirement, getting ready to enjoy his hard earned work with the woman he loved so much. There was a whole new chapter in his life that he was looking forward to, a chapter where he would be old and gray, a chapter he never got to see.
Cindy is the receptionist at the dentist office. She was Dr. B’s receptionist for many many years. I wanted to tell her about my memory so bad when I was leaving, but I couldn’t. She would have loved to hear it, I know, but I couldn’t bring myself to tell her. I knew I would start crying and I didn’t want to make her sad, not on an already gloomy Friday afternoon. So we chatted a bit, I wished her a wonderful weekend, and I left. I left feeling like I usually feel… like the clock is ticking and I need to stop wasting my time. I left feeling grateful for every person who I love, grateful for my two beautiful girls, who despite driving me up the walls and back down again, are the light of my life and who make my world go round. Grateful to have married my soul mate, my soul mate, people. Grateful for every breath that I am able to take that enables me to enjoy this crazy, insane, confusing and most amazing life.
It’s funny how things work out, I went in for emergency dental work and left feeling sad… sad but so damn grateful.
Slow down more.
And take time to really enjoy that cupcake…