I had my wisdom teeth pulled out in college. It was relatively painless until I developed a dry socket. In case you still have all your wisdom teeth (or never got them at all) a dry socket is when the blood clot that develops after surgery falls out and exposes the freshly cut upon tissue and the raw nerve left bare to the air. In other words, it motherfucking hurts. It was an endless throbbing pain that didn’t even begin to recede until I got it packed with clove oil soaked gauze during a emergency appointment at the oral surgeon. It made me faintly nauseous, as anything with a strong clove scent tends to do since I spent days distilling cloves down to oil in organic chemistry and just got positively overloaded on the scent, but it worked. The pain died down then disappeared due to this simple piece of gauze.
My father passed away seven years ago, my aunt passed away five years ago, my grandmother passed away two years ago, one of our best friends passed away almost 18 months ago. My heart just shattered when my father died from a heart attack without warning. It was slowly squeezed to death when I lost both my aunt and my grandmother to cancer over a series of months. When my friend died in a car accident it broke all over again, along old fault lines. My poor abused heart looks like Frankenstein’s monster at this point, stitched back together, resuscitated over and over.
One of my favorite quotes is by Khalil Gibran:
“The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain. Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter's oven? And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives? When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy. When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.”
I am the freaking grand canyon of sorrow- that is how deeply I have been carved. I am a throbbing dry socket waiting for gauze. Luckily my daughter; my adorable, happy, rainbow of a daughter-has the capability to fill that canyon to overflowing by just being her. A wild, raging, river of joy. I feel that the depth of the sorrow that I have felt is what allows me to know how much I love her, my husband, my family, my might as well be family friends. It lets me know how fragile and precious this life is. They all fill me up with love and joy and laughter and bring lightness to the darkest and most damaged corners of my heart . Life is terrible, and wonderful, and odd, and funny. The worst moments can be the greatest gifts in the end.