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One of My Favorite Memories of My Mother

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One of my favorite last memories of my mother would be when I had to cut her hair while she was in the hospice center. For most of my life, my mother always had long brown hair past her waist and she would never let anyone cut it. She always said that made her who she was. Even today, when I look at photos of her, she never had short hair. For her, this was her one beauty and keeping it long was one thing that she was proud of, even though she was a grandmother of nine. The very suggestion of cutting her hair short was always given an “I don’t think so!”

This day was different. She had been having a very rough day and I remember that she looked over at me and asked if I could brush her hair for her. This was unusual because she would never let me touch her hair. I agreed to brush it for her because she was too weak. As I started brushing her hair and touching the long, brown locks, she started to cry. I asked her what was wrong. She said that she was tired. She wanted something to change, and she needed to make things simpler. She then asked me to cut her hair up to her shoulders. I looked at her face and she had tears running down her cheeks.

The look on her face said it all. She really did not want me to cut her hair. She kept touching her hair and running her fingers through it. I asked her if she was sure. She nodded her head and said yes. I gave her a hug and told her that I would. As I hugged her, I could feel how frail she was. She had barely any strength left. The very thought of her this way made tears come to my eyes. She looked up at me with those beautiful blue eyes and made her only request. She wanted to be pretty. I gave her another hug and told her that I would make her beautiful. As I hugged her, I did not want to let go. I wish that I could have given her some of my strength and I wish that I could have made her better, but it was now in someone else’s hands. I took her hair into my hands and started to cut the long strands that were once past her waist for so many years. When she saw the first strands fall, she gasped.

While I cut her hair, she put her hands over her face. My dad came into the room and saw what we were doing and he looked sad, tears welling up in his eyes. He loved her long hair. She looked up at him and she asked him to hold her hands. As I evened out the strands, she asked me if I had a mirror. I gave the mirror to her and she looked. She was so sad. With tears running down her cheeks, she looked up at me and asked, “Am I still beautiful?”

As I choked back a sob, I told her that she was and always will be beautiful to me. She smiled and told me thank you. She turned to my dad and asked him the same thing. He gave her the same answer that I did, but he then ran his fingers through her hair. He told her that he thought that she looked good with short hair. She smiled the first real smile that I had seen in months, since she found out that she had cancer. It is amazing how sickness can take things away from a person’s life, things that are treasured. Simple memories like a smile or a fun day with friends and family that get a person through hard times like cancer.

 I remember this day very fondly. I remember the close mother-daughter moments that made our relationship and how we felt close to one another. This memory always makes me smile. I realize it is hard to believe that this memory does make me smile, but it is memories like these that get me through hard times that she would have normally been involved. I miss her opinions on what I needed to do or her simple hug to let me know that she was there and everything would be fine. The cancer has taken this from me, and sometimes I feel angry. She has been gone for a year and a half now. I still have the picture that I took of her after I cut her hair on my laptop, asking me if she was beautiful. Some people do not have the relationship with their parents that I did. My mother was my best friend, my confidant, the person I looked up to, and I miss her so very much. I will always hold this memory close to my heart, and I will treasure it for years to come.


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