This is an extreme example of a delayed reaction.
So I'm sure at some point on this blog I have written about my mom's cancer. It was a weird situation. The cancer was never going to kill her - we just needed to get it out of her, obviously. She had a bone marrow transplant, and then had to go through radiation and chemo.
It was terrible. The chemo made her really sick, where she wouldn't get out of bed for days and she was puking all the time. I think being depressed about her life didn't help the situation. We (the four of us) tried so hard to make her be positive about it, but we never got through to her. I guess it's hard to be positive when you feel horrible, you have cancer, and you aren't happy with your husband.
During chemo, my mom's hair started falling out, like it was supposed to. Mom's hair was thinning and kind of a mousy brown anyway, so I tried to look at the bright side of things. One day when it was looking particularly thin, I tried to lift her spirits.
"It could come back luscious and beautiful and thick!" I said to her. "Are you going to shave your head?"
Looking back, that was a terrible question to ask. I can be pretty insensitive sometimes, and I tend to ask a lot of questions that probably shouldn't be asked.
But she just paused and then quietly said "Yes, will you shave it for me?"
I froze. I was obviously not okay with my mom having cancer, but I had accepted it and knew what needed to happen to get her better. I, however, didn't know if I could actually shave her head. But I couldn't admit that emotionally I couldn't handle it, so I mumbled some bullshit about the grain of hair and not knowing how to use clippers. I told her I would ask my friend Leanna to do it, as she is a hair dresser.
We worked out a day with Leanna, who said she would go to Mom's house to do it so that it would be more private. I went with Leanna that day, of course, because I didn't want Mom to be alone during the event.
Mom cracked jokes through the whole haircut. She already had wigs picked out, and some pretty scarves. It was actually the most positive I had seen her through the whole cancer journey. The whole thing took maybe twenty minutes, and then Leanna and I were back in my car. It went remarkably well.
Now, over two years later, I can't believe how well she handled it. I have been watching a lot of shows/movies lately where a cancer patient has to shave their head, and the event is so dramatic and intense - it's such a hard decision, and you have to basically give in to the cancer at that point, swallow your pride and shave your hair off. I complain about my hair almost daily, but I cannot imagine having to shave it off and displaying to the world that I am a cancer patient.
Since I ask inappropriate questions, I will probably ask her when I see her tomorrow what she was really thinking throughout that whole event.