Postcards of Grief

Mourning is a process.

Comments on breast cancer by proxy, written by a woman coping with the loss of her mother.

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Long as God can grow it

I got my hair cut. Trimmed, really, given the small amount of hair that was actually on the floor when she was done. Vicki was supposed to have done it, but Vicki was out. A friendly woman I had met the last time I was in, Grace, did it. Vicki was recently diagnosed with breast cancer, and chemo is knocking her down. Yesterday, though, part of the problem was that she had just had her port installed and couldn’t really lift her arm.

Grace snipped, and we talked about chemo. I told her about Mom, used the delicate but straightforward line that she’s not doing very well. Strangers know that “not very well” is bad. I mentioned metastases in the liver, and she stopped and stepped back from me.

“I lost my sister in April to breast cancer. She had it in her liver, too.”

I could have wept in that chair. Her sister was 34 when diagnosed. I told her I know a woman who was diagnosed at 27. We discussed mammograms and baldness. The conversation went to Mom’s CANCER SUCKS hat, and Grace told me I could quit my job and make them for a living.

Walking back to work, it struck me that we are three different women with three different relationships with breast cancer, all brought together by haircutting. I thought about crying but decided it wasn’t worth it.

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