Thursday, October 20, 2011

Got teeth?

My mom had had the same dentures for 50 years. That's probably some sort of dental record. It's hard enough to keep real teeth that long, let alone fake ones. A few months ago she paid for some dandy new dentures and waited and waited for them. Ironically, she had the final fitting and tweeking the day she had her stroke.

When the mortuary picked up her body from the hospital, her new teeth were tucked into a plastic container in my sister's purse.  We were all going there the next day to make the final arrangements and take a recent picture of mom so they could make her look "natural". We planned on taking the teeth then too.(A slight aside on the barbaric practice of displaying the empty carcass of the deceased.  They NEVER look "natural" because they are dead! Hello!)

Anyway, in the 24 hours that they had her body they had already done her face. They placed spacers in her mouth and did whatever the hell they do to try and erase the empty look of  death. They said they could not put the teeth in at that point.  Mom's expensive new chompers had nowhere to go. We thought and thought. The teeth were of no use to anyone and were completely non-refundable at that point. I thought they should go in the ground with her, if not in her mouth then in the casket somewhere. She'd waited a long time for those suckers and they should be with her but we couldn't just toss them in. Tucking them in her hand seemed strange as well.

The morning before the funeral found us at Hobby Lobby to look for a suitable container to house the teeth for mom to take to the great beyond. One sister liked a leapard print box with a feathery pouf on the top. We could practically hear mom's scoff. There was the tiny box marked "Baby's First Tooth" that seemed fitting but was way too small for a whole mouthful of them. Finally we spied it. The perfect box. Pretty, tasteful, and with a little handle on the top for easy toting. We added a little monogram and it was ready to be tucked in with mom. A little tooth casket, so to speak. But a whole lot cheaper than the Silver Sunburst that mom was in.

So somewhere down in southern Utah County there resides my mom, finally united with her new teeth. Hope you enjoy them, mom.


  1. Oh Zena! Your sense of humor is twisted. I'm happy that you can appreciate the humor of what you and your sisters went through in losing your mom. And those pictures on facebook of your kids?! You are a crazy lot!

  2. Awesome. What a great way to honor your mom, also great that you and your sister did this together. It's something you'll always remember fondly, I'm sure.