Saturday morning I got my hair cut. Not just any hair cut, but 10 whole inches.
I’d been alternately pleased and annoyed by my lengthening ponytail over the summer, and I knew once cold weather hit it would be time to make the cut.
Today, fittingly enough, it was snowing. And I was happy to easily tuck a hat over my short bob.
I donated my cut hair, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to write about it here at all. A haircut itself is a personal luxury, really. And broadcasting a donation seems to make it feel hollow.
Here I am, writing about the donation anyway. It’s because of the people it represents to me. So many things in life, when you boil them down, come back to relationships. Connections. People.
This compelled me to write about why I am sending my hair to Beautiful Lengths, which makes free wigs for women fighting cancer.
I was just five when my Grandma Inez died. I didn’t understand why, but she kept getting sick. We were always supposed to be quiet when we went to see her. I tried to be good, but there were so many things I didn’t understand. Her hair fell out, and my parents said it was because of the medicine they were using to try and make her well.
Chemotherapy is ugly. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t.
I wish I could have gotten to know this strong and resilient woman better.
My Grandpa E.E. was slim, active, and healthy. (Yes, I really called him Grandpa E.E.) But that didn’t stop heart disease and cancer from invading his body.
I remember how he would always happily put up with the antics of my sisters and I, plus be willing to hold and entertain my youngest baby sister.
He died on New Years Day, and I remember it with all the clarity a 7-year-old can.
Several years later, it was my Grandma Marilyn. The miles between New Mexico and Minnesota meant we didn’t see each other often, but there was always the annual summer visit. We saw her in June or July that fateful summer, and she seemed healthy and well. A few short months later she was gone, victim to a very aggressive cancer.
Three people so important in my life, and none of them lived to reach 70.
Each one of you has your own story. Maybe it’s fresh and raw. Perhaps, like me, you have lost beloved family members.
It may be you. If you are fighting your own battle with cancer I wish you strength and courage. I offer you my prayers, and I sincerely hope if you want a wig you are able to find one you are comfortable in.
Not everyone choses to wear one. I’ve actually heard from multiple women that just seeing and knowing they have the option of their wig is what makes them feel better. Sometimes they wear it, and sometimes they don’t.
My hair is just a little drop in the bucket. It takes many donations to fashion a single wig. All the little bits together are still what make any program possible.
I don’t know why I’ve never donated before, but I’m so glad this time my hair can do more than be swept up off the salon floor.