As she ran her fingers through her hair on that cold December night and was sad to see that the chemicals had started to sink in, she knew it wouldn’t be long before she would have to make a decision she never thought she’d have to make.
To let the hair go on its own? Or to take it all off?
We told her what the right decision should be. But it’s always easier to preach when you’re not the one cringing as you look at yourself in the mirror.
She decided that she wanted to cling to it more. It kept her warm, she said. She felt safer with it, she said.
So the hair kept falling. And she kept trying to hide it.
I remember the day well. I got back home from class to see her wearing a wig. I smiled. I knew she had taken the plunge. I was proud of her. I was strengthened by her courage. I was happy by her resilience.
As she took the razor to what was left of the hair on her head, she also took the decision to strengthen her fighting of those few cells that threatened to take her life away. Today, as I see her smile, I smile as well. And I see her radiating despite something being missing.
We keep her feeling good about it. But I realized we don’t need to. We joke about how my brothers and I are sure to lose our hair now that both our parents are bald. She’d smile and give us the “I’m not impressed” face. For the first time since she started chemotherapy, I can see her really happy. I can see her relieved.
My mother was beautiful before. My mother is gorgeous today. And I want to show you how brave she is. Because hair doesn’t matter.