Life After Haircuts…Is Too Short

October 20, 2008

Today my friend Becca got a haircut. It was strange to watch. My friends and I gathered around her and watched as her beautiful blonde locks fell to the ground. It was the most heart-wrenching haircut I have ever witnessed. It seems so petty to cry over something as silly as hair, but as I watched the tears fall down Becca’s face, I was filled with sadness for her. It seems so cruel that cancer would happen to her. Not only is it her senior year in high school, but hair is an exceptionally integral aspect of her life. Not only does her hair look absolutely perfect everyday, but she’s always the one that does all my friends’ hair before dances. I kid you not; her room is filled with the largest assortment of hair products ever known to man. As she undergoes chemotherapy, her hair is now starting to fall out.
It began last week. I was sitting in class next to her and she was picking stray hairs off her clothing. I reached to help and she sighed and told me it was no use, that her hair would all be gone soon anyway. I was caught so off guard, I didn’t even know how to respond. She seemed so sad but resigned, not the normal happy, silly Becca I have come to know and love. Today she asked me whether I thought she should cut it all off and start using the wig she had bought in case this happened. I couldn’t think of what to say. I told her that if I were her, I’d want to hold on to my hair as long as possible. She agreed but wondered aloud whether it was even worth it to wait. She told me of how scared she was to wash her hair. “It comes out in huge chunks when I wash it,” she sighed. “I don’t know if it’s even worth it to wait for it anymore.” To most people this may seem trivial, but to a girl in high school, or any girl for that matter, losing your hair is a frightening thought, terrifying even. I’ve thought about cutting my hair in support of Becca, to let her know that she’s not alone in her battle. I can’t get myself to do it though. My selfish vanity won’t allow me, and I am ashamed to admit this.
Becca encourages me to me live my life to the fullest each day. I see her struggle to understand why this has happened to her, especially right now, when she has so much to look forward to. She is one of the bravest people I know and I am continually inspired by her choice to embrace her situation with such a positive attitude. Her resilient spirit and giving personality amaze me everyday. Even though she has Lymphoma, she never misses her tradition of making cupcakes for her friends on their birthday. For as long as I have known Becca, she has always been a person who cares deeply about her friends. If she and a friend get in a fight, she won’t rest until peace is reached. Her ability to be empathetic is a quality I admire her for. Even though she struggles to understand why cancer has happened to her, she lives each day with arms wide open and motivates those around her to do the same.
“It’s always something,” cynics may say. I have to admit, I sometimes find myself agreeing with them. I just don’t understand why such bad stuff can happen to such good people, especially people who devote as much time to helping others as she does. Becca volunteers not only within our high school, but within the surrounding community as well. She is a member of a local relay for life team along with several of our friends. Last year, she walked as a volunteer, raising money to help others with
cancer. This year she will walk as a survivor, hopefully done with her chemotherapy and radiation treatment by then. I am excited for her to be able to resume her normal life. The life she lived before cancer.
Even though she is losing her hair, I know Becca is going to be okay. She takes whatever life throws at her and makes the best of it. It may be hard for her to watch something so important to her being taken away from her, but I know one day she will have her beautiful hair back, when she is finally healthy and cancer-free again. Until then, my friends and I will be there for her. We’ll be there to stay up late with her, try on wigs with her, and cry with her when she’s upset. She is one of my best friends and I will be there for her whenever she needs me. She is not alone in her fight.
Hilary Severin