Locks of Love


As a child, my mom would twist small ringlets in my hair. As I sat beside her, she would absentmindedly twirl a lock of my hair around her finger. I found it very calming, but now I understand the closeness we shared during those times were calming and restorative to her, as well.

My mom was always quite proud of her hair. It was gorgeous, dark, and thick, with enough curl to give it body and bounce. She did not spend a lot of time on her appearance, but she was careful to keep her hair trimmed and fresh.

It was Thanksgiving, six years ago, when my mom handed my husband the clippers and asked him to shave her head. Her hair was falling out, more rapidly than she had anticipated, and she decided to take charge of the situation as best she could. Shave it, rather than let the chemo take it.

She rocked the bald head. She stoically said she really did not mind, it was effortless– no worries. I think the part that bothered her the most about being bald was that it outed her to strangers. People knew about her cancer, without her having the option to share. Her anonymity gone, she also struggled with how cold the winter proves to be without any hair on your head.

After the brain surgery, the baldness highlighted the huge scar that stretched across her head. Her battle against cancer scar. The precision of the surgeon was hard to miss. Her battle ended not much long after the cancer moved into her brain.

I have many amazing memories with my mom. I choose to remember her with her gorgeous hair, watching it from the backseat of the car, flapping around as the wind from the window made it look like it was flying. I remember her hands in my hair, twisting ringlets, steady and calm.

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