The bright light that went into the darkness — in memory of “Dr. Jeff”
Seven years ago, I blogged about a magnificent force that had just come into my life.
Always the dramatic, I had titled the blog post From the Darkness, A Bright Light Emerges — it was tongue-in-cheek, of sorts, because it was about visiting a celebrity dentist and trying his whitening process. (Get it? Adorable, right?)
Years later, I’ll never forget that moment when I first met Dr. Golub-Evans (or, I as I went on to call him, Dr. Jeff.)
Greeting me, we chatted for a bit, and then he paused, looking at me.
“Please don’t be offended, but you are the prettiest girl with the worst smile to ever come in my office.”
At the time, I’m sure I was miffed, but Dr. Jeff was a visionary and went on to remake my smile using composite bonding. That summer, many summers ago, was the first summer I learned to smile in pictures showing my teeth. That I could smile. He gave me that smile. And he did it because he saw its potential in me.
It wasn’t my teeth going from “dark’ to ‘light’ ultimately, but it was a dark room that Dr. Jeff put light into — I changed in a lot of ways that summer. I came out of my shell, I became more outgoing, I became less afraid of cameras and my own reflection. Dr. Jeff gave me that.
Ours was a professional relationship — one of him as the source and me as the journalist — with my often using him as an expert to quote for various stories. It soon blossomed into a friendship. We’d chat about life and work over sushi or espresso, I’d email him constantly about life randomness. He told me I was a great writer and he loved my work — at a time when I barely had the self-confidence to regularly blog. He joked that he found me and “my peeps” amusing, as he would say, and loved to read about our daily hijinks. When he decided it was time for his practice to “explore that Twitter thing,” he came to me for advice and assistance- and I was so excited to finally be a source of information to this man I saw as a mentor in so many things for so long.
Last year, the same week that I ended up in exploratory surgery after a freak experience when a vein burst and I nearly died, something scary similar happened to him. We both bounced back. Somehow it just added credence to his place in my life as my guardian angel.
I saw him a few weeks ago, commented on how he was aging far better than I was. He laughed, told me I was doing just fine. We exchanged a few emails after, but it was the last memory I have of him before last night, when his daughter texted say he was in the ICU and not doing well. I made plans to see him today, rearranging my schedule in any way I could…but I was too late. When I woke up this morning, I found out he had passed away.
To my mentor, my friend, my guardian angel and one of the most generous souls I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting, rest in peace – I’m sure you are making smiles beautiful throughout heaven right now, and there’s a whole lot of us down here who will forever smile whenever we think of you.