Watching my mother deal with her hair loss was one of the worst experiences of my life ? and I didn?t even experience the hair loss for myself. My mother has always been very proud of her hair. It was golden, like sunshine, and everyone always commented on it positively. I supposed it was a big part of her identity. Then sometime during menopause she started losing her hair. It was only in little chunks at first, like normal shedding. Then it was in clumps, left behind on the sofa and clogging up the shower drain. One day my mother brushed her hair and a whole bald spot appeared. She started to cry, and I knew something was wrong.
The doctors couldn?t say what caused it. She wasn?t stressed, so that wasn?t it. It also wasn?t genetic, as far as she knew. Regardless, my mother was a mess over it. Watching her suffer was, as I said before, one of the worst experiences of my life. What does a daughter do as she watches her mother suffer like that? I couldn?t give her the hair she had lost back. Nobody could. All that was left was to find the source of the problem, treat it, and in the meantime, heal.
I suppose it may sound silly to some of you. My mother probably sounds very vain. She is anything but. She is one of the strongest women I know, and she wouldn?t be moved by ?just? losing her hair. I think it goes back my deceased father. Apparently, he fell for my mother because of her hair. Long before he knew the other good qualities, of course. He used to always praise it, stroke it, and tell my mother that her hair was the essence of her spirit. After he died, she kept growing it and only trimmed off the split ends. I think losing her hair made her feel like she was losing the ?essence? that reminded her of my father.
My role in all of this has been supporting my mother and helping her see other wonderful qualities about herself. We?ve gotten her a short wig in the meantime, for when she goes out, but I know she hates it. It?s not a replacement for her real hair. We?re trying all sorts of treatments to get the hair growing again, but it?s a long struggle. I think my mother is on the verge of giving up. I won?t let her give up. She?s my mother, and I know she would never let me give up, and thus I will never let her give up either! I love her too much to see her stop caring about herself.
I have no idea where the road goes from here. I can only do so much. My mother is between a rock and a hard place. Either she gives up and becomes depressed, or she keeps going on a slim sliver of hope. I?m sure she?ll get her hair back someday.