Like lots of other folks last night, we were with family and friends holding hands and praying for unexplainable healing and complete peace for Joey in the coming days and weeks. There were tears in many eyes, including Joey’s and mine. It was a special moment together. Especially knowing that countless thousands of people from all over the globe were doing the same thing for her at the exact same time.
But an hour before our prayer, the house wasn’t filled with tears or quiet prayer…
It was filled with joy-filled smiles and the sound of sweet laughter.
Day by day, the effects of all the chemo Joey had received the last couple months was causing her hair to get thinner and thinner, so on Tuesday she asked me if I would do the honors.
Our older daughters were still here, so they sat at the foot of Joey’s chair in the middle of the living room and held her hands as I took the clippers that she usually cuts my hair with, and followed through with her wishes.
I wasn’t sure if it was a good idea or not. I kept telling her that maybe her body is resistant to the chemo drugs… and maybe her hair wouldn’t all fall out. I was hoping she could continue to look in the mirror and see herself, and not have to see a cancer-patient staring back at her.
But she was insistent. Joey is nothing if not courageous.
When it was done, and what was left of her pretty brown hair laid in clumps on the hard-wood floor… we all told her that she was beautiful. But I don’t think she believed us.
She looked different than the rest of us in the room and she knew it. She was strong of course, and forced a slight smile on her face, but it was a heart-breaking smile that had some fear beneath it.
Then the next day something strange happened… her best-friend Julie’s hair fell off.
And then last night, the same thing happened to all three of Joey’s sisters.
And then a few minutes later, her daddy Jack’s hair fell off…
Even her little eight-year-old niece Alyssa’s hair fell off.
And all of a sudden, Joey didn’t look different than the people around her anymore. And a big beautiful smile came across her face and everyone else’s too.
Cancer can’t do that.
Only love can.
Your heart hurts so much for someone that you love…
Your hair falls off.