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And I know that all these tears are helping

I visited the orthodontist today. I have visited his office only once before, to have a number of in office tests, photos, and measurements, and to pick up the materials for a sleep study. Today I visited to talk about the results from all those tests and to discuss a plan for assisting me in healing.

The treatment plan and the assistance are exceptional, and gentle. I know that I will heal.

The Dr was very thorough in reviewing all the results, in explaining what healthy orofacial physiology does for a human being, and in demonstrating how my orofacial physiology is causing some problems that I am experiencing.

I left feeling so grateful, knowing that I will be able to heal,

and also with a deep sinking sadness in my chest and a tight throat and jaw.

The bones of my face and jaw are underdeveloped. The structures of my jaw joints are underdeveloped. I have osteoarthritis in the right temporomandibular joint (jaw joint). The right articular disc (the part that cushions the jaw and assists jaw movement) has damage. A portion of the bone of the right condyle (the part of the jaw bone that meets the joint) has worn away, exposing the marrow. The temporal socket for my right jaw joint has worn down.

I have a deviated septum. My nasal passage is narrow and the turbinates (structures that warm and moisturize the inhale) are overly large, hindering the flow of air. My lower pharyngeal airway is constricted. My hyoid bone is shifted.

The home sleep study suggested I have mild obstructive sleep apnea.

Before our meeting today, I was aware of, or was suspicious of, all the diagnoses we discussed. On some level, I could feel them all,

and yet, it felt like I had just opened Pandora’s box and it contained all the stories of sadness, disease and abuse that had previously been locked tight in my jaw. Having such a thorough discussion of the physiology had the effect of causing a sort of vomitus of previously stored emotions. It felt as though all my cells started crying at once, “You see us!” and proceeded to howl louder, like they were trying to cry out all the tears we haven’t felt able or safe enough to shed.

We went to lunch after the appointment. I was very quiet at lunch. Then we walked to the university to visit the magnificent cherry blossom trees.

I started crying then, small squeaks and sniffs accompanied by two slow wet trails down my cheeks.

And God bless those cherry blossom trees, for they called out to me as I walked through the sea of people, reminding me that blossoms are made possible by the rain, and that the petals would soon enough be loosing themselves to the same ground my tears fell to.

I cried like that for many hours- slowly, quietly, with periodic outbursts. Perhaps, had I let it out all at once, released the damn, the experience would have been shorter- burnt through quicker. But as it was, I could, mostly, only leak.

I curled up as small as possible on the passenger seat for the 3 hour drive and slowly leaked out so many things I don’t have words for. My husband picked up the kiddos so I could go home, so I could just get myself into our yoga room, safe and alone, where I would finally allow myself to completely fall apart.

When I got to the room I turned on the pellet stove before depositing myself on the bed and sobbing.

As the room heated up I sobbed and held myself, and wilted, and wrote. I wrote out all the things I could think to put words to, letting my pen scribble quickly, not caring for legibility or sense.

I spoke and wrote to the Beloved. Asking, no begging, for help. Begging for the strength to feel whatever I needed to feel and then to feel Loved unconditionally, held, supported, enough. Begging for the ability to give myself these gifts.

Throughout the whole experience I periodically heard gentle whisperings, “This is the letting go before the rebirth. This is the shedding of things you no longer need,” and I feel this gentle hug that says, “blossoms are coming.”

I set up for prayer and hatha yoga practice. I cry through them both.

and then I stop. I have finally cried, and yelled, and written, and sweat it all though and I feel like a wrung out rag, nothing left but wrinkly limpness. I sense that I have only touched the tip of the iceberg. I will unravel and experience what lies beneath as we go.

The treatment plan and the assistance are exceptional, and gentle. I know that I will heal.

And I know that all these tears are helping.

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