My boys are constantly getting into trouble for putting the strings of the window blinds between their teeth while the other one pulls. I don’t know why they think this is fun… #boys. The other day, while I was in the kitchen, little brother pulled on the string in between big brother’s teeth and it yanked one of his two front teeth right out! I heard a scream and met the injured one running towards me. I immediately saw the gap. I was shocked. I picked him up asking him what had happened, then I found the tooth. He was nearing hysteria due to the exposed nerve; the tooth had broken off right at the root! He kept holding the empty spot yelling “put it back, put it back!” When I took him to the bathroom mirror to show him what happened, his face showed terror. It was a bad day.
Every time I see the gap or hear the slightest lisp in his speech, there is still a ping of emotion. The upsetting part for me is the amount of time he will be without a front tooth. I also worry about his speech and I don’t want his shy-ish personality to become more so. And I definitely don’t want him to stop smiling! Kid accidents are the worst.
The day it happened I thought about loss. By no means, am I comparing getting a tooth knocked out to the loss of a loved one, but the comparison to the process of the first stages of loss struck me. His baby tooth is gone; it was broken off (then extracted in our case) and now there is a vacant spot, which is the same way I feel about the recent loss of my grandmother.
I lost my grandmother last Easter. I think about her every single day. I know that I will continue to think about her for the rest of my life. She was amazing and I miss her like crazy. She held a place in my life and her place is vacant now. That emptiness still feels new to me. There are times when I feel like my son and want to yell out “put her back, put her back!”
I was in the gym sauna a few weeks ago and two ladies close to her age were talking all about what they were going to cook for their respective upcoming “Sunday dinners.” They both spoke in a similar accent as hers, they used the same colloquialisms and phrases. Their conversation could’ve come straight from the mouths her and one of her friends. I had to leave because tears were forming creating potential for awkwardness, but I also wanted to stay there because it felt like her.
The loss is still new and, although painfull, I am ok with it. That sting keeps her memory fresh, and I am aware that as my brain ages, memories will fade. The inevitable moving on of life and living in the present doesn’t mean that I surrender thoughts about her. Just like his adult tooth will take time to grow in, it will take time for the memories of her to surface without the initial sadness accompanying it.