Hats are making a comeback. Every few years, they show up and a few style gurus wear them and the rest of us think… “I should get a great hat” but we don’t.
All this hat business got me thinking about my year of chemo and thank goodness that was a year that hats had a comeback. Meaning, I had a few more options than the ballcap. It was 1998 and no woman with cancer just walked around bald. Well … a few super brave women or “I just can’t care anymore” gals did but I didn’t know them personally. I just spotted them at events. It was pre-digital photography and I wasn’t too keen on having photos taken of my bald head and we were carful not to waste film, so I won the battle. Truth be told, a few more photos might be nice all these years later.
This isn’t really a post about hats or bald heads though. This was just the crazy thought stream that led me to do some quick math. Hey, how old was my mama when I was diagnosed cancer? She was 40. She was 4 years younger than me now. She had just lost her mama way too young, 2 months earlier. She was picking up the pieces of that and going with me to every doctor’s appointment, every support group, every lunch with a survivor that I might find a connection with. The wig shop, the hat shop, finding silk scarves wherever we could and paying way too much for them. This was 1998, they weren’t at Target yet, they were only in the “old lady” section of department stores.
She didn’t have a coach. She didn’t have a Youtube full of videos from other mothers going through what she was going through. She didn’t have the latest self-help book on discount at Amazon. It puts my self-indulgence towards greater growth and stronger mental health under a spotlight for a second. I’m feeling a lot of gratitude that it’s 2019. It also reminds me to not be so tough on mom.
And, what about dad? He was one year older than I am now. He was also only one year sober at the time. I only thought about that today. Can you imagine? How is that possible that I only thought about that today? How did he do it? Guess, I might be a bit too tough on dad sometimes too.
Cancer taught me more empathy. Cancer taught me more kindness. It led me to helping others. But it took until my own 40’s to recognize the wicked strength that it took for my parents. How might that look different 20 years later with how far we’ve come in increasing our mental health awareness and resources for support? Where are we going next?
Can you think of anyone who you are a bit hard on? What were they doing at the age you are now? How was their world different? We all learn from each other. Please consider doing some math and sharing a memory of your younger parents or persons of importance in the comments.