March 18, 2007 has become my frame of reference for so many things. When trying to figure out when we did something, I always think, "Did that happen before or after Natalie died?..." Today I went to the dentist for the first time in a long time. When he asked me how long it had been since my last cleaning, I had to think: "I know I haven't been to the dentist since Natalie died, so that means it must have been sometime before... which means it's been over two years... And the last time I did go, Natalie was just starting to walk..." Ah, yes. Now I remember. So I answered him, "between two and three years."
Since dentists like you to go every six months, I felt rather delinquent, but only for a moment. My reasons for not seeing a dentist in over two years are quite understandable. Natalie's death has turned my life upside down and all around. Amidst the grief, I really do my best to take care of myself and my family. But it's hard to take care of everything. So I let my teeth go for awhile. It's done now. Everything gets done eventually.
My grief has been intense lately. I keep reliving the horror of that morning on March 18. I cry and cry, and then it passes. I consciously tell myself to focus on something else. Usually that works, but it comes back later, sometimes when I least expect it.
Here's my happy girl from March 2, 2006 when she was seven months old, the height of her chubby-cheeked cuteness.