Saturday, March 02, 2013

You tell me...

Three weeks ago, we dropped our dog off at the dogsitter's house so we could attend my son's tennis tournament out of town. I hadn't seen her in a few months, so when she saw me, she said, "Your hair looks different. Did you cut your hair?" I thought that was an interesting observation being that I was wearing a hat at the time and there is no hair underneath my hat. I hope and pray that her observation skills in dog sitting are more acute than in hairdo assessment.



I said, "Kanswer cut my hair."
Awkward silence.
Then she said, "I'm sooooooo sorry. I can't believe I was so insensitive. Oh, man. I feel so stupid."
I said, "You have no reason to apologize. There's no way you could have known. Don't worry about it."
Then she said, "I know a woman who had breast kanswer. Then it came back in her ovaries. And now it's in her bones. It's really bad. I feel so sorry for her."
Awkward silence.
I wanted to ask, "Is there a happy ending to this story?"
I really wanted to ask, "Are you f*cking kidding me? Is that the best response you could come up with?"

*************

A couple of days ago, I was wandering through Trader Joe's and ran into an acquaintance I hadn't seen in more than a year. Hugs. Smiles. Great to see you...

She asked, "Did you cut your hair?"
I gave my now-standard answer: "Kanswer cut my hair."
Awkward silence.
Then more hugs. Tears welled up in her eyes. "I'm so sorry I asked about your hair like that. I do like your hat. (Her teenage daughter nodded in agreement and said, "Very chic.") Don't worry, Gail, you're gonna be just fine. God will get you through this. It is well."
She said she had a new phone and had lost my number, so I took her new number and sent her a text so she would have mine.
More hugs. More tears. Tender good-byes.
A minute later, I got a text from her that said, "Got it. Will be in touch soon. It is WELL."

*************

You tell me - which of those responses is more uplifting to someone who is in the midst of a battle with kanswer?

Also - why do people feel guilty for asking about my lack of hair?
I wonder if it feels kinda like asking, "Are you pregnant?"

5 comments:

Kate S said...

i think people hope there is an easy reason or a change in appearance they think they need to say something that indicates they notice. I've lost tons of weight over the last couple years since we moved to Albany and when people notice, they ask if I'm ok. Sorta the opposite, not, oh you look great, but you must be ill if you can lose weight like that. I wish we were all more considerate with our thoughts and fears. And I do like the second response better :)

Karmen said...

I think people feel bad because they are afraid they stepped on a tender subject, like somehow they are reminding you that you have cancer in their asking about your hair.

I always try and stay positive in my responses to people who have a difficult journey ahead. I don't want things to seem like they are no big deal though, because I don't want to minimize what someone is going through. That first response is just someone's ignorance.

Laura: One Day At A Time said...

Hi Gail. I just started reading your blog. God is our Great Healer! I have been fighting infertility the past 3 years, and get much the same from people. They are ignorant, and don't know how much their words hurt or touch on intense fears that I am struggling to lay at God's feet. There are definitely two camps of responders: those who I part from feeling torn down, and those who I leave from feeling uplifted. I hope that you can encounter more of the latter after your recent painful interaction.

Linda K said...

Hi Gail. I too "stumbled" on your inspirational/humorous blog by following Momastery. I so like your attitude and outlook. I've not fought the battle you're fighting but have stood by friends who have been in your shoes and have since traded them in for some brand new shiny ones that kick ass! You're a wonderful soul, someone I hope to meet one day! Love and well wishes to you. Linda Kirkwood, Roanoke, VA

Heather Alderman said...

Gail - I just found your blog through Momastery. You are an amazing heart touching writer and human being. You are so honest, inciteful and articulate with a sense of humor. I wish you love, peace, healing and all that you wish for. Heather Alderman, LaGrange, IL