This was written for Stream of Consciousness Saturday hosted by Linda G Hill where our prompt this week was left pretty much open except for the letter “s”. In keeping with the theme of breast cancer awareness month, I decided to post a happy memory and some pictures to go with it. I hope it makes you smile as much as it made us all smile who experienced it. It honestly still makes me smile to think about.
Smiling Through the Hard Times
It was a day just like any other, only the enormity of what we had decided to do was weighing on me. I kept looking at Adelle, wondering what she was thinking; wondering if she was worried and scared like me. It was a crazy thing, to be scared of this, when my sister was going through so much more. What was this compared to what she was going through. It was that thought alone that kept me going that day, all the way to my parents house.
Only two months before that day, my sister had been diagnosed with breast cancer. It grew pretty fast and was at the bad side of stage 3, scaring the shit out of us, making us think we might lose her. The decision we all came to was an easy one to make. One we could go through with her, since going through cancer and all the things that go with it wasn’t an option. But shaving my head, I could do.
The thing that surprised me most was that my daughter, who was then 16 and my niece, only 14 decided to do it with us as well. I know how cruel junior high and high school can be and I was worried for them, but not so worried I wasn’t proud as hell that they would join with us.
The one thing I remember most about that day was smiling. The minute we walked in the door of my parents house, everyone was smiling and laughing and joking. All my fears evaporated in the midst of the joy filling up that space. Even my sister, who had the weight of cancer on her heart and mind, let it go for the few hours it took to shave our heads.
We had three chairs in the kitchen; I don’t even know how many clippers and razors and shaving cream. We all took turns shaving each other’s heads. We decided to be super silly and shave mohawks on our heads and then take a picture before finishing it.
That day was one of the most beautiful days I can remember. There were times after it was done, when I went home and was alone that were hard and I missed my hair. It’s crazy how you get used to a certain picture when you look in the mirror. It was hard to look at myself in the mirror sometimes because it didn’t feel like me; didn’t look like me.
I know that losing all your hair is only one of the many horrible things cancer survivors have to go through, and I can honestly say, being bald wasn’t half bad. I’m happy we all did it with her and she had some bald buddies to hang out with. I’m happy she didn’t have to wake up to a glob of hair on her pillow. It’s only a small thing, I realize, but that was one thing I could do for my sister.
It was probably about a year later after all the hair growing pains and awkward hair moments that I told myself and others that I would probably never do it again. I did it once, and that was enough.
Less than a month ago, my sister had another scare. She found another lump and for another three days we went through the wondering and fear and not-knowing. I called Adelle and told her what was going on and the first thing she said was, “I guess it’s time to go bald again!” I didn’t even hesitate. I said, “You know it!” And I meant it. I would do it all over again if it meant my sister didn’t have to be alone, at least for this one small thing. It’s only hair after all, and it does grow back. Hopefully my sister always has a smile on her face, knowing her family loves and supports her. Hopefully she will continue to find things to smile about, knowing she survived cancer and has come out on the other side of it. She is still cancer free and surviving each day. I know it isn’t easy for her and she still struggles. This is my tribute to her and to all the cancer victims and survivors out there. May you always find things to smile about, wherever you may be.