Our accepted ancestors gatherings for Sunday banquet were abounding with laughter, abundance food, acceptable wine and active conversation. It was a attitude with the Euker ancestors that we all relished. This accurate Sunday — Dec. 15, 2013 — was different, however. We had all aggregate to adorn Christmas cookies, allotment a pot luck banquet and cut my hair. My chemotherapy had begun.
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Our accumulation aboriginal aggregate in the ancestors allowance breadth my two sisters and I began administration belief of our mother, Gail McCredie Cunningham. She had died from lung blight aback we were adolescent girls, and her afterlife was devastating, not alone because we absent our mother but additionally because the adults in our lives led us to accept that she would balance and appear home. But, she didn’t. She died afore any of us had a adventitious to say goodbye, and my sisters and I still ache for that absent opportunity.
Although my blight was in the aboriginal stages, I did not appetite my ancestors to be shut out like my sisters and I were. I capital them to biking my alley alongside me because I bare their accompaniment and strength. So, they were all there.
The alpha of chemotherapy analysis for my breast blight had occurred two weeks earlier, and I knew it would not be continued afore my beard would activate to attenuate and abatement out. I had heard women’s belief about their beard address in their food, in the shower, on their pillows and everywhere else. I was afraid about that as able-bodied as about attractive baldheaded and funny — my arch is not my best concrete attribute. I capital to accept some say over how I absent my admirable hair; I capital my family‘s help. I capital them to cut my hair.
My niece, who owns a salon (and is the alone one amid us who knows annihilation about able beard care), agreed to be the “head stylist.” As she sat me on a stool that Sunday, with a bead bolt beneath to bolt my hair, my ancestors aggregate round. My niece took out her scissors and combs and patiently approved for all how to cut beard appropriately and efficiently. Aback she was finished, she captivated up her scissors and said, “Who’s first?” The allowance was silent, but they were all there.
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Finally, my two 8-year-old grandsons, cousins, volunteered to be first, and they anniversary bravely (and apparently with abundant delight) anxiously cut off a allotment of their Mimi’s hair. Again their sisters stepped advanced and again my daughters, nephews, accompany and my own sisters took their turns with a bit of abhorrence and agitation — but additionally abundant resolve. Some lined up for additional and third turns, and, in about 20 minutes, my beard was appealing abundant gone except for a baby breath appropriate aloft my forehead — larboard for vanity’s sake.
Monika Dockendorf acclimated a DigniCap to accumulate best of her beard during chemotherapy analysis for breast blight at the Baltimore Washington Medical Center in Glen Burnie.
The being who had the greatest adversity acid my beard was my bedmate — he and I both bethink my long, silky, agleam ponytail aback we were in aerial academy and college; my curls during the ‘70s and my accent duster during the ‘80s and ‘90s. Even my accepted gray bob was adamantine for us to lose. But he bravely took his turn.
My two pre-teen granddaughters again insisted I go into the bath with them so they could put architecture on me, “fluff my puff” with beard gel and accompany me out for the “great reveal.”
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The transformation was stunning. Aback I absolved aback into the room, I was accustomed with cheering, clapping, hooting and a few tears. I acquainted like a angel — because, they were all there.
Then we all confused to the kitchen/family allowance breadth to accept to two my granddaughters comedy admirable alcove music on their viola and violin, to adorn Christmas accolade and to adore addition Sunday banquet together.
We were activity to be OK.
My ancestors was adventurous and actual admiring that day in allowance me activate my aeronautics of a alarming and aching process. Chemotherapy is never easy, but the adulation and abutment I acquainted that Sunday bolstered my intentions and backbone in adverse my year of treatment.
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Eventually the blow of my beard fell out, but the bulk was negligible, and I anticipation I looked best adorable in the abounding hats bodies fabricated and beatific to me. I decidedly admired the one my daughter-in-law, Carrie, fabricated for me. That hat sits on the arch of the teddy buck I was accustomed during my recovery, in a armchair appropriate in advanced of my fireplace. Now, about bristles years blight free, I still attending at it every day and bethink that they were all there: Carl, Marjie, Lynne, Katie, Stephanie, Keith, Carrie, Michael, Marne, Abigail, Carson, Hannah, Ethan, Alicia, Linda and Tina.
My family, my support, my champions.
Susan Cunningham Euker ([email protected]) is a retired Hereford Aerial Academy teacher.
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