Feb 07, 2013
December 6, 2011, my mom left a voicemail on my phone, all giddy and happy explaining she'd just gotten out of her radiology appointment and her doctor felt optimistic and she did too because the tumors showed signs of shrinking. She was so happy. It wasn't often she felt upbeat and optimistic when she discussed the cancer. She wrapped up the message saying, "I'll see you at 1:00 at Eunice's and we'll pick out a wig or two and have some fun together!"
I listen to that message a lot. It's the last voicemail I got from her where she sounded like HER--her happy, radiant, smiling, humorous self. I still remember that day vividly. We goofed around in the store with hats and crazy looking wigs that were totally not her style and had such a great time. She bought three wigs and a few hats and scarves that day. One of the wigs was her favorite. It was a long style that was shoulder length. She wore that one often; said it made her feel like a CoverGirl because long hair on her naturally never looked so good and she usually kept her hair no longer than jaw-length. The other two wigs she bought were shorter styles, much like what she often wore naturally.
I don't think she ever got a chance to wear those two wigs. They were still wrapped in tissue paper in their little boxes. I had her funeral and cremation done in the long wig.
After she died and I got her house packed up and emptied and ready to sell, I found those two other wigs and the emotions welled up pretty badly. I decided to keep them but in a way, I didn't want them either--what am I going to do with them? But I wasn't ready to let them go, nor did I really have any idea what to do with them if I did. Sell them? I didn't know. I wasn't thinking straight, so I just put the boxes in another box and they got packed and moved into our home when we moved into our new house recently. I never knew what box they were in other than some random box in our garage.
My husband found them while unpacking earlier this week. He asked me what I wanted to do with them--he's always so careful how he approaches these subjects with me, which I appreciate. He said, "I know you'd probably like to keep these, so where would you like me to put them?"
That's when I knew, as if I wasn't even telling myself I had to do it, but like my mom's very presence was right there at that moment and gave me a sense of release of those wigs. I replied, "I want to donate them. I don't know why I didn't think of that before. I should donate them to a cancer clinic or some place like that."
Today, I went to the local American Cancer Society location and walked in the tiny building, clutching those two little boxes. The woman there asked if she could help me, and I said, "I had called the day before yesterday about donating my mother's wigs here. I have them to give to you."
She was such a sweet woman, and saw that in that moment, the emotions were building up fast and I was probably going to lose it. She told me I was so kind to do this and that they would be so appreciated, and she opened the boxes to look at them and told me they were absolutely beautiful and in exceptional condition. I said, "I don't think she had a chance to ever wear them."
She asked if I would like to see where they'd be placed so other women could browse and find what was suitable for them, and I said okay and walked into a small room behind her desk area, where a small selection of wigs, scarves, and hats were displayed. There were not as many there as I had expected. She said, "We are so grateful to receive donations like yours, because many women come in and this is a small moment of joy they have, getting to pick the hairstyle they can have while losing their own to chemo."
I replied, "I know. I know how much it means. I helped my mom pick out the ones I'm donating, and we had so much fun together."
She told me they let any woman who comes in battling cancer and chemo pick out a wig and piece of headwear of their choice at no cost.
I hope and pray that the lovely women who choose my mom's wigs win their battle.
I walked out of there barely keeping myself together, but I didn't cry. I am now, though. Ha.