Attachments are Something on a Vacuum to Make Life Easier, and Normal is Just a Setting on the Dryer
by Candace Chisholm
Daring to Share Your Voice
April 9, 2020 Edition
Welcome to the Perceptions of our Community Guest, Candace Chisholm of
She Changed It | He Changed It
Editor: Diana Reyers
I am currently running the gauntlet of what is sure to be the greatest trial of my life - the diagnosis and treatment of my baby granddaughter’s rare cancer. Through it I have found myself inundated with blessings and lessons, many of which I clearly need. One that stands out the most occurred the day she started losing her hair. I’m not talking just any hair; she had the hair of Samson!! I, mistakenly, believed it was her superpower, but as it turns out, this little girl is the superpower and her hair was just window dressing.
I thought we dodged the bullet of her losing her hair. I’m sure much to their annoyance, I kept asking the doctors, When will it go? They kept saying that she may not lose it, but chances are she will. After week 3, I felt my ego rising. Maybe the nutrition I so painstakingly researched, sourced, and helped administered will bypass the hair loss. Maybe she will be one of the lucky ones. Maybe this is what she will teach these doctors, how to keep her hair. It sounds vain to me now - to worry about such a small thing in the grand scheme of fighting for her life. Before probably for fear of people’s judgment thinking I was vain, I would never have admitted that I actually felt her hair was her identity. Everywhere we went, it was the first thing people saw. From birth, she had a wig on her. It’s the first thing I saw when she was crowning and it’s also what I felt made us similar, hair like Glamma’s was a point of pride. I put it up in a variety of ways when she was with me, and of course, I did the same with mine. It was cuter on her to be sure.
So, on the fourth week, when the first chestnut strands began hitting the floor, the reality of what was to come set in. Tears streamed from my eyes as I swept and held those precious threads of life. Not to be forgotten, my ego reared again telling me I obviously didn’t try hard enough to provide her with the nutrition she needed. Surely if I had, this would have been spared. Thank you ego, but I don’t need the extra help in the guilt department!
The next day, after her nap, heaps of her hair clung to her pillow, her sheets, and stuffed dog. They seemed like little life rafts clinging to something that was hers. Three days later, the dead hair was knotting with the remaining locks creating a very impressive, yet painful, dreadlock. It was time to shave her head. My son and I did this when mommy was out to spare her the emotional pain. Honestly, this was a gift to me because as we took the clippers to her she looked up and flashed us a sporadically placed toothy grin. How was she smiling? Shouldn’t she be scared? And then it dawned on me that she had no attachment to the hair. It was simply a thing that got in her eyes most days and took far too much time away from playing when having to constantly have it washed, blow-dried and put up. I’m not saying I’m sure she didn’t like her hair. I’m just saying that she just didn’t care if it was there or not. It didn’t change the way she felt, which is happy. It didn’t change the feeling she experiences when with her family, which is love. And it certainly didn’t change the outcome of her health, which is great!
Lesson #1341 - just a number I pulled because I’ve actually lost count - that this little nugget taught me: If I am loved, happy and have my health, the rest is just stuff. Sometimes, it’s amazing stuff that makes my world easier and more enjoyable. Sometimes, it’s horrible stuff that hurts and makes me wince, and for whatever reason, I wear that like a badge too. But at the end of the day, I truly don’t need to attach myself to any of it. It doesn’t define me. It doesn’t make me better, or worse. It doesn’t enhance my capability to add to the betterment of the human race. That is just me. So, the lesson is, with everything stripped away, I can smile, hug, and love. I truly believe that as I go through some of life’s most harrowing tribulations, I will find me…stripped of attachments, and able to just be.
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