Kindness is what the Dalai Lama has called ‘his religion’ and when I think about it, often it is kindness shown to me in the form of empathy that brings my heart undone. It happened today. I had a follow up appointment with the dentist who removed my broken bridge and gave me a temporary one in February. Before that appointment I believed I would be getting a new bridge shortly but was informed I had a crack in one of my front teeth, the one that got split apart in the accident that occurred with I was 17 and that now a new bridge was not possible. Implants for three front teeth are one option but due to PTSD I cannot go through that kind of invasive procedure. The second one is that the tooth must come out and I will wear a denture. Its a hard thing for me to swallow. I will need a denture for three teeth as over the course of the past 37 years I have had two reconstructions on that part of my mouth parts of other teeth have had to be removed to build a new bridge. Back in February it was hard to face a loss of this kind. I am still relatively young (at 54) and I will now have to have that huge gap in the front of my mouth. It is something I have to struggle to come to terms with.
I don’t want to avoid any more what needs to be done. I have an infection in that tooth that is causing me problems. The option to just plaster it over for another six months seems too hard to bear. At some point I have to face the grief of loosing the tooth. When I spoke to the dentist I was really honest about how I was struggling. This is the kind thing she said to me.
“It is totally understandable that you feel the way you do. A front tooth is such a big part of you and to have it removed is hard. Its not just like cutting off a fingernail or something.” She then turned away and my tears just fell. I realised in that instant the trauma I have gone through will always live on in my body and I have endured losses, but I also know if I face the facts, feel the grief and go through the procedure things will be better in the long run than avoiding it. Maybe readers won’t relate to what a big thing it is for me. I also know I MUST FACE IT. Avoiding things that are painful for me is no longer an option. I know in the past I have avoided pain and I know its because I have gone through so much pain in my life.
What was really beautiful today though was the empathy and kindness that my beautiful dentist, Sunny showed me. She only has 2 and a half weeks until she takes leave to give birth to her daughter and wont be back to work until November. When I left after absorbing a truth I had tried to avoid before and felt the problems the infection is causing for my body I wondered how I will last 6 months now waiting for the procedure to be done. I don’t know the answer. I have a bit of a headache at the moment as these big emotions are around. But I do feel as I sit typing this with sunlight streaming though the window how grateful I am that in being shown empathy and kindness I was able to feel the full impact of the thing. I have had dental trauma since age 16 when four teeth were removed in preparation for 18 months of braces during which I had to wear a bit and bridle to bed at night to pull the teeth back. My teeth are aching as I write this. That cellular memory lives on and I rarely have an undisturbed night’s sleep due to it as well as the impact of the head trauma I had 12 years ago, I am aware as I type this that the anniversary of that accident is approaching… its ripple affects live on. Trauma brings more trauma…that is a sad fact. There is so much our bodies go through that other minds so often don’t understand. I am just so grateful that my dentist does.