The Bravest Person I Know

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.

Mother Cancer Chemotherapy

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Burning Tires

I’ve read many people saying that what certain protesters did today, burning tires and blocking roads, is hypocritical seeing as these same protesters “defamed” similar protests, albeit on different grounds.

I have a few things to note regarding this. The protests Lebanon saw today were a spontaneous act by a group that saw its choice at how this country should be running, one it clearly expressed through national parliamentary elections a year and a half earlier, going down the drain. These people felt oppressed. They were scorned. For a whole day of demonstrations, which ironically falls almost on the same day the other protesters burned tires, no one died, property was not damaged and the expression of anger simply resulted in excessive traffic on certain roads.

On the other hand, when the “defamed” people protested, people died. I know of at least one man from my own district who was killed through a sniper’s job. The whole protest at that point was to prove a point against the government at the time by the opposition. Wouldn’t you think that people would be given a choice to participate or not in the “strike” as it was called at the time? The answer is no. The whole strike was shoved down our throats. Some people had to close down their business in order for them not to get trashed. People were forbidden from going to work. Some were banned from seeking medical help. I personally know of one woman they did not let pass to go to her chemotherapy. Her husband, a supporter of the movement at the time, pleaded but to no avail.

On that day, I was in my senior year of high school. The school gave us the freedom to do whatever they want. If you support the movement, you can not attend. If not, then come to class. Classes were supposed to be held. So I went to school. Imagine going on a side-road from my village and seeing tires burning there. I mean, what’s the point of burning tires on a road that’s not even that important? They simply wanted to have fun. I got to school. Classes were not held, simply because the headmistress, who incidentally announced this supposed “choice” we had, did not show up. This headmistress’s uncle was an MP with Aoun at the time. Another example of shoving the “strike” down my throat.

As far as I know, the people demonstrating today did not shove it down people’s throats. And I repeat, they did not kill anyone nor have they damaged property. The outer shell might the same. And I disagree with this outer-shell in all circumstances, meaning I refuse this way of protesting in absolute value. But the foundation is much, much different. It’s so different, in fact, that I believe a comparison based on the outer shell becomes null.

Let me conclude by saying something I shared with a friend today. Hell has no fury like a sect scorned.