Our hair dye conversations changed drastically over the years, and many months I’d miss them all together. But still, I never purposely skipped the chance to spend time with my mom while she did her hair. I felt like we really got to know each other during that time, and that, perhaps for the first time ever, I had gotten to my mother as Diane, and not just my mom. It was a special time for the both of us, and one that I knew meant a lot to her.
Nobody had even really acknowledged that she was a former brunette. It was odd, but it seemed that all of her friends and family couldn’t picture her with any other hair color now. It seemed as though, despite it being processed, that being blonde was more natural to my mom than her original hair color. She was this fearless blonde hair, blue-eyed woman, who made everyone laugh and who everyone wanted to be around.
Watching my mother lose her hair was an incredibly painful thing to witness. Even though many people have a special connection with their hair, it seemed even more so for my mom, because like her blonde hair, she was fun, vibrant, and daring. All things that cancer stole from her.
The boxes of hair dye remained untouched in the cabinet under the bathroom sink and served as a bitter reminder of our once monthly ritual together. I tried my best to find her a wig similar to her own hair, and even though it looked nice, we both knew it didn’t look the same.
It seemed that when she lost her hair, she lost a part of her spirit as well. Of course, she was still the mother I knew and loved, but I hadn’t realized until then just how much identity we store in our locks.