A week ago, Aaron endured major facial surgery. He had all of his top teeth removed (8 surgically and 5 simple extractions). It was something that needed to be done for a very long time, and the time was finally right for him to take off from work and do it.
In the days prior, I remember being worried about the long term affects – how losing his natural smile would change his voice, his ability to sing, and if it would hinder his self confidence. I worried about his immediate needs – diet, mostly. One thing that never occurred to me was how we would communicate that first day, after he woke up from surgery. Maybe it’s because we have an unspoken communication. It’s something that we never put much thought into, before last week, and when the surgery was over and Aaron’s mouth was full of gauze, it kicked in. Like everything else with us, it was natural.
One thing I’ve always been able to do with Aaron, that I’ve never been able to do with anyone else in my life, is look him in the eye and pay close attention. I think that comes from missing him for twenty years. Now that we’re together and I wake up next to him every day, I’m afraid if I blink, I’ll miss something! Maybe beyond that, is a small amount of intuition that stems from loving each other for so long. I’m not talking about the passionate love we share now. I’m talking about the contentment your soul feels when you’ve found a missing piece of yourself in an instant best friend – when you “recognize” someone the second you meet them, and life is better after that moment just because that person is in it. You finish each others sentences, you breathe deeper because you can feel their heartbeat even when that person is far away…and you don’t need to speak out loud to communicate basic needs, wants, worries, concerns, or pleasure.
We became closer the day of the surgery. We held each other one last time at the door of the dental office, kissing each other one last time knowing that kisses would be different from then on. I felt his heart beating inside of his chest and prayed that the surgery would not be an unbearable shock to his body – for his blood pressure to stay normal. He breathed me into him. We listened to the birds chirping in the trees behind the office, and then we walked in – both ready.
When I stepped in and smelled the distinctive smells of the dentist office and I saw the chair, suddenly nothing else mattered to me except Aaron’s health. That’s why he was going through with this after all – to remove bad teeth so his overall health could be better. I could have cared less about whether or not he sang ever again. I just wanted him to be OK. I saw how nervous he was in the chair right before he was numbed up, so I started to focus on calm energy. The plants in the room, the painting on the wall – anything to calm me down so that Aaron might feel it.
The way the room was arranged enabled me to stay in eyesight of Aaron during the entire procedure without being in the way. This was good. He didn’t want me to be far away, and I didn’t want to leave him alone. As with any crisis, when the surgery began , priorities started to get in order. No more worrying about bills. You could feel it in the air. All we have is each other. Thank you for being here. An unspoken thought, sent and received by both of us simultaneously.
An hour and a half later, it was done. His blood pressure was fine. Relief washed over me as he stood up and walked with me to the car. The worst part of his part of the ordeal was over. My work had just begun. I knew the best thing for him was to get him home where I could take good care of him. It was during the car ride home that the old intuition kicked in. Entire conversations were given in quick, deep glances. A look and a nod said what needed to be said. Hand me some more gauze please. I’m thirsty. Did the numbing stuff wear off yet? I love you. Thank you.
By the next day Aaron was able to talk again (and I was able to understand him). The swelling took four days for most of it to go away. His face never bruised. The doctor had done a wonderful job. There were many things to be thankful for in this Journey. Mostly that Aaron was going to have a chance to live a longer life, because the decayed teeth that had caused him so many physical ailments were now gone.
I’ll never forget this experience. I learned so much about true love when Love spoke for us that day.