after the snot fest

Even if you haven’t stopped crying by now, I hope you appreciate this re-post from August 2011. It’s when we found Elspeth, and remembered to smile at the expense of our dearly departed.

teeth and death and all that

I found Elspeth’s poem at the weekend, and I love it. You’ll like it too. It’s full of love and humour and sadness and truth.

Mother smiled

Shortly before she died
My mother’s dental plate cracked
And she had to wear
an older pair.
At least for eating
for she would not
go out
in case she smiled.
And then she died.

My sister said
she wouldn’t be seen dead
in those teeth.
So I drove all the way to town
pleaded with the dentist
who hurried up the new set
so my mum
could look good
at her funeral.

We sisters knew
Mum would be happy
with a good fit,
easy to talk or eat,
no shame on the last long walk
with smiling teeth.
We also smiled and laughed.
Tried hard to cheat
the bite of grief.

Isn’t that wonderful? It makes me smile in recognition every time.

Herself might have reservations about this- she was proud of her very good teeth and put a lot of energy (hers, mine, the auntie’s) into ensuring that they were kept in tip top condition even when she couldn’t open her mouth very much. There was an array of toothbrushes- regular size, child sized, wee ones with bristles- more brushes than the council, claimed the auntie.

However, she’d smile too, because she’d be thinking of the family story of yore… at a wake it was discovered that the wrong teeth had been put into the remains. Granny walked in to find a woman of our acquaintance straddling the corpse trying to take her teeth out of him. Mrs W had taken her teeth out to have a sleep, and they’d been mistaken for those of the deceased…

They live on in the tales we tell.


9 thoughts on “after the snot fest

  1. Ah Speccy – what can I say to this? Having now heard about rare diseases, I look back to when my mum and dad died (he went 6 weeks after her) and for a couple of years before they went in and out of hospital in turn, my sisters did the drive up and down more often than me. They were just old, bodies wearing out. My mum’s heart stopped when she was walking round her garden with one of my sisters. I read your stuff and I am teared up again too, and think: weren’t we the lucky ones? I thank you. Keep on smiling, even through the tears.

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