I am starting off this blog with a picture that is bittersweet to me. A picture that is a reminder of what I have lost- and gained. Let me introduce you to these two lovely young ladies. The one on the right is my precious daughter, Amanda. Amanda had a hard life, a short life. A childhood leukemia survivor, cancer reared its ugly head again while she was in her late 20s. A mom of three, she was misdiagnosed twice before finally being diagnosed with stage three breast cancer. This picture was taken a couple of months before she passed from this life to the next. As you can see, her face was very swollen, and her body was bruised. And yet, she is smiling, as she usually did. In this picture, she was playing with the other young lady. Playing with hair clip-ins. Enjoying some very short time left between them. Let me now tell you about the young lady on the left, Amanda’s daughter Cassidy.
Cassi was 6 years old when she lost her mama. Something no child should ever have to deal with. When Amanda died, the kids dad was unable to take care of them properly, so they came to live with us. Then, we adopted them in 2016. Cassi turned 9 this year.
Cassi likes long hair. She hasn’t cut it in quite a few years, other than a trim, and to get her bangs cut. A beautiful little lady with quite the personality. She makes friends with everyone she meets, and she was blessed with not only her mama’s looks, but with her smile as well.
We have a little problem getting her to take care of her long hair that she loves so much though. We have talked off and on about a cut, but she adamantly refused. Until she heard us talking about companies using hair for making wigs. She began asking questions. And we told her that there are people with cancer that need wigs to cover their heads after they lose their hair to chemo. Suddenly, she completely changed her mind and eagerly wanted to get her hair cut. We told her we didn’t want her to make a rash decision, and to take a week to think it over. When the week was up, we spoke again- she actually brought it up.
“I want to donate my hair”, she said one morning. So, we made the appointment.
I did some research and found that most places require a minimum of 8 inches for a donation. I put ponytail holders in to show her how much needed to be cut, then I looked at Jeff and said, “I don’t know if I can do this.”
When we told her stylist what we wanted to do, she plugged in her flat iron and went to work. She pulled a tray over, so we could lay out the pieces of hair as it was cut, so it wouldn’t get tangled up. She asked me where to cut, and then began.
It was an emotional moment for me, watching all that hair being cut.
We cut nine inches off, leaving enough so her hair wouldn’t be short.
A beautiful tribute to her mama.
Her hair is pretty baby fine, but hopefully it can be used to help another mama with cancer.
And here is my beautiful Cassi after her haircut. It will take some getting used to, but she seems to like it. And it is much easier for her to handle. And still long enough for a ponytail. 🙂
Life seems pretty unfair when you think about a young mother losing her life and leaving young children behind. So many things in this life we just don’t understand. But Amanda is still with us, in the three little lives we see growing every day. In their smiles, and laughter. In their silly little antics, and even in their anger, and temper tantrums.
I will miss my girl every day of the life I have left to live. But when one of her little blessings steps out and makes a huge, difficult decision to help someone else, I realize we must be doing something right in deciding to raise them. And how much it cost Cassi to part with her beautiful hair. And I think of a mama looking down at her daughter- growing up way too quickly- with pride.
And smiling that beautiful Amanda smile.
Here is a link to my other blog, and the first of a 10 part series I did on Amanda’s story: