“There ain’t no words for the beauty, the splendor, the wonder of my hair.” – The Cowsills
When Angie was younger, she got a wad of gum stuck in her hair. The only reasonable solution was to have her mother cut her hair. From the description Angie gave me, the right side of her head was much shorter than the left side. It was a bad haircut and it was documented courtesy of her school picture day; a nightmare for any adolescent.
We spent the Christmas holiday in the frozen tundra of Springfield, Massachusetts, Angie’s hometown. The larger part of Angie’s family still lives there, including the matriarch of the family, Angie’s grandmother. It’s a sixteen hour drive from Nashville, and to be honest, the monotony of being in the car for that amount of time causes my brain to zone out. It’s hard to recollect any conversation, jokes or music from such a long drive. Either way, we were looking forward to spending the next week with the nieces, nephews, brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles. But, in the back of Angie’s mind, she had another item on the docket; a brand new haircut.
It was strongly suggested to Angie to go ahead and do what she wants with her hair before the inevitable. Shave it, buzz it, Mohawk, spikes, mullets, anything that she has ever wanted to try. It’s a way of taking some control over something which she really has no control. Most of the Springfield fam gathered at Marie’s (Angie’s Aunt) house one night after Christmas. Angie’s cousin Guilmond had scissors and clippers, and Angie found herself sitting on a stool in the middle of the kitchen. It was bittersweet. Angie’s little niece, Emma, obviously began to grow sad as the first locket of hair was cut off. Emma loves hair that is as long as the princesses she idolizes. I was sad, as well. With all the fun that was being had with the kids opening presents from Santa, and the Yankee Gift Swap where I ended up with a comically large flask, this was the first moment since we arrived in Springfield that I was reminded that my wife was sick.
We blasted some music as Angie’s hair fell to the floor with each snip. Her family took their turns clipping and shaving her hair. Everyone was talking, laughing, catching up and carrying on as if this was just a regular haircut. It was a strong statement. There couldn’t possibly be a better way for her family to say, “We are here for you.” After the ears were lowered, Angie’s cousin Meaghan began to apply the new hair color. Turquoise was Angie’s choice. Since there was less hair to dye after the cut, the rest of her family each decided to color a streak of their own hair as a final statement of support.
Angie was excited about the new style. It was edgy, current and looked really good on her. She was excited to show her friends and coworkers in Nashville. I was happy to see how happy she was with her decision. Unfortunately, a few days later, while taking a bath, Angie began to notice hair loss for the first time. It was a quick and hard fall back to reality for both of us. She won’t be able to flaunt her new hair for much longer as Dr. Rodgers thinks Angie will be hair-free by her third chemo treatment.
At least she won’t have to worry about school picture day.
New customized playlist: https://open.spotify.com/embed/user/1215796657/playlist/47g1pN2cHDYXpH6ZnTcukE