There’s a book called Crowns: Portraits of Black Women in Church Hats by Michael Cunningham, which was made into a wonderful stage play. But that’s not what I’m writing about here. Rather, I have yet another of the more mundane kind: a dental crown. I think it’s my fourth. The dentist works hard to match the shade of the crown to the rest of my teeth, so it doesn’t stand out. Truth to tell, once it’s in there I can hardly distinguish the fake tooth from the rest. But the reality is that cracks in my teeth, holdover damage from earlier more stressful times when I probably had episodes of teeth grinding in my sleep, are failing to hold up as I age.
The New York Times online has an obit for Amy Krouse Rosenthal, and author and film maker who died at 51 of ovarian cancer. Shortly before she died she wrote an essay “You May Want to Marry My Husband”, giving him permission to move on after her anticipated death and hoping he would. Such a young woman, I think, with twenty years less of life than I have now.
I feel the fragility of life every day, just because I’m aware of how quickly health can change. But for me it hasn’t yet, despite a certain stiffness when I try to stretch and hip pain that can still be assuaged by massage and a lower threshold of energy and patience. I can live, uncomplaining, with my crowns.