hair today, gone tomorrow

by rebecca on June 27, 2013

Post image for hair today, gone tomorrow

When I told my husband of 25 years I was going to shave my head to raise money for cancer research he was silent. 3 days later he made a proposal, “It’s a good cause. How about you figure out how much money you could raise and I’ll match it if you DON’T shave your head.” You’d think this would offer me a reprieve.

But my heart just hurt. My husband loves me so much I never thought to question that he’d support my choice. Everything I do, he’s with me 100%. Until now. Because I’ll look very different.

That’s scary.

“What if it doesn’t grow back?” he worries.

I’ve been identified by my hair all my life. I was born with a head full of orange glow. The nurses in the hospital put barrettes in it before they wrapped me in a blanket and gave me to my mother. My hair was so colorful as to inspire a certain elementary school boy to hold his nose when he had to partner with me during gym class square dancing.

“Don’t let that bother you,” said my step-father. “One day the boys will chase you down because of that hair.”

Indeed. My husband, who doesn’t want to see me bald, dated me in a 1972 Chevy Truck serenading me with Randy Travis’ song Forever and Ever Amen. But he’d never sing the line, “If (your hair) fell out, I’d love you anyway.”

I remember this song lyric and begin to think of my beautiful cousin, Judy, who lost her battle with cancer several years ago. I think about my friend who said losing her hair was more traumatic than her double mastectomy because hair is so obvious to everyone.

My husband’s comment, “What if your hair doesn’t grow back?” makes me wonder if my cousin and my friend had to worry about being loved on top of all that goes along with chemotherapy. It puts things into perspective for me.

Who will I be without my hair? How will people treat me in the grocery store? What will I twirl between my finger and thumb when I need a little soothing or as I ponder what to write?

If a little haircut on a Saturday afternoon is scary, think how terrifying it is to loose your hair because your life is hanging in the balance. Each hair is a symbol of the fragility for which it stands. My husband is just scared. He’s scared because he loves me.

I’m scared too. This is what I’m doing with my fear. I’m turning it into something that feels like compassion. Will you join me? Donate here.

Sometimes you have to take the lid off and look at frightening possibilities in order to affect the change you want to see.

I was inspired to write this because of my friend, Heather’s Just Write blog series. She asks people to write about what’s going on in their lives.

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Jim Cox June 28, 2013 at 1:23 am

Rebecca, love this blog. And thanks for joining my team at St. Baldrick’s. It is a bit scary, and very different, to have your head shaved, as I did last year, and will do on Saturday again. But you see the kids, and hear the family stories, you just have to do it. hugs, Jim

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rebecca June 28, 2013 at 1:11 pm

I am so thrilled to be by your side, Jim. I think about your gentleness with the kids on the ski slopes and I can’t imagine being anywhere else if I was going to do something “a little bit scary.”

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SuziCate June 29, 2013 at 3:35 pm

With or without hair, you beautiful spirit will continue to shine.

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rebecca July 8, 2013 at 1:13 pm

Thanks, SuziCate!!

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Betsy Fry June 29, 2013 at 9:20 pm

Rebecca, I adore how very courageous and giving you are. Some person in the world will shine even more, for they now have something from a beautiful soul. I am so proud of you! Lots and lots of love!

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rebecca July 8, 2013 at 1:20 pm

Betsy, I will tell you that secretly, I’m gonna be keeping my eye on your hair 🙂 All that gorgeousness is gonna pull me through some of the bald days.

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Steve Mullen July 2, 2013 at 4:07 am

wow. I want to say that I am proud of you, but that flies in the face of the lack of choice those you are aligning yourself with have when It comes to their own hair. I don’t want to say anything that undermines the larger reason that you are doing this. Thank you for opting in to the reality that faces those going through chemo. My heart goes out to everyone that you are choosing to identify with in this.

the disclaimer aside, I want to tell you how beautiful, how courageous, & how free your life is. I know your husband, and I know how much you love him. to watch you elevate the choices of conscience you feel above the comfort and assurance of his affection is pretty damn inspiring. Sis – you have jumped completely out of the plane. You’ve let go of the safety, and are in total free fall!

You are living a life of freedom, responsibility & beauty! That’s a life well-lived.
– a proud brother

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rebecca July 8, 2013 at 1:19 pm

Thank you so much, Steve. It does feel a bit like free fall. 🙂 Thanks for acknowledging that. It is also beginning to feel like a life well-lived. Perhaps we fall before it feels like that.

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Maryna Smuts July 3, 2013 at 4:06 am

Rebecca, this post is making me tear up. Must be because you’re hitting vulnerable spots for me in what you write about. I don’t know that I could shave my head and I so admire your brave move as well as your contribution to this great cause. Here’s to you!!

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rebecca July 8, 2013 at 1:15 pm

Thanks for your support, Maryna. I know that tears have been a regular part of this journey for me too. I think we all fear being vulnerable. I find it fascinating how much hair represents for all of us.

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Kristen @ Motherese July 10, 2013 at 2:00 pm

I am in tears and don’t have the words to express how moved I am by this post and your gesture. I see your struggle and I applaud your strength. Sending you much love and some virtual SPF for your scalp. xoxoxoxoxo

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