Friday, June 15, 2012

Help with saying goodbye

Had the most pleasant--yes, PLEASANT!!--dental experience of my life earlier this week. The dentist was a nice guy, and he was a fantastic anesthetist. The most intense the injection process ever got was "I think I just felt something."

I had a baby tooth removed. Yes, a baby tooth; I never grew the permanent teeth that push out the baby teeth, where most people's second bicuspids are usually found.

I still have the tooth; I think I'm going to "plant" it in the garden, somewhere. It was very clear, from the ease with which he removed it and from the quite visible age of the childhood fillings in it, that it was time to say goodbye to this little friend, who had in his day done more than his share of the work, and survived more than his share of difficulties.

It was time to say goodbye.

It was OK; while I'd never met the dentist or his assistant before the procedure, we "clicked." He was more than just my doctor, he was my friend. And it was OK to say goodbye to something that had been with me for what, forty-five years? because it was time, and a friend was with me to help bid it farewell.

A couple of days before The Extraction, I did the final clean-out of my office at work. Yeah, to be absolutely finally really-and-truly-finally every-last-thing-accomplished done, there is something I'd still like to do there (move an office chair to someone in another office who really deserves a nice chair), and I still want to pick up the motorized wheelchair that the person who owns it is willing to bequeath to me. And I still need to do a ceremonial burning of my old business cards (but that I'll do at home). But I had no friend with me to ease the farewell; and, I must say, at least I agreed that it was time for my tooth to go, and though I do agree now that it was time for the job to go, at the time that the "going" was thrust upon me... I was not into it. At all.

Very different farewells; one of which was occasioned simply by age, one of which was occasioned by M.S.

And yet, how are they different? For each, "it was time" sums up the cause for the farewell. But for one, I had a friend at my side.

But more importantly... Most importantly... For one of them, I agreed that it was time. I took steps to cooperate with "it being time to say goodbye." I sought out someone who would help me say goodbye to my tooth. And the extraction process, from start to finish, was painless; and most important, painless in my heart, because a friend was helping me say goodbye.

I don't think any of us M.S.ers would ever say that we "picked the time to say goodbye" to what we lost; and the anodyne of blogging, the kindness of those who respond to our posts, or whatever "support people/groups" we may be able to call upon... When we say goodbye to that which we've held so close for so long: we're alone.

This shouldn't be a surprise to any of us; c.f. Buddhism's Four Noble Truths.

But what an interesting gift of M.S.: the inability to pretend those Noble Truths don't exist. Here. Now.

But then again, as Robot Chicken ended the episode "Kill Bunny"...

"You didn't think it was gonna be THAT easy!"

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