“It is a sure sign that I grew up in the 80’s when seat belts in the back seat were unheard of, and I could easily stand up and comb my Dad’s hair while he drove the car! As one of three girls, we were used to trying out new styles on each other, but I took it a step further by tending to Dad’s tresses too. It is ironic that so many years later I started combing his hair again, but this time for different reasons… My Dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the summer of 2017. We were extremely hopeful that it was caught in time, and after chemotherapy, radiotherapy and the removal of the tumour, life would return to normal. Dad lost some of his hair during his treatment but was relieved to not lose it all. He was so proud of his lovely head of hair and keeping most of it meant he could go about his business not necessarily ‘looking’ different. In late summer of 2018, we were told that Dad’s cancer had spread and he was now dying. We were never a family who freely hugged or kissed each other so starting now didn’t feel comfortable for us… but combing Dad’s hair was easy for everyone and he enjoyed it. He asked us all to brush it regularly when we were with him in the hospital as he was too tired, and we relished the opportunity to be physically close to him and help him feel a bit better in himself. Dad always had two combs on his tray table and at times he even kept them in his pyjama top pocket lest they go missing. Even as a sick man, his hair kept growing and my Mom used to cut it. His hair was so fluffy and wavy then and it reassured us that he was having a ‘good’ day and was well enough for a wash. Whenever we visited him, his clean hair became something to talk about, other than the immense sadness we were all feeling at what was happening to our family… When it came time to say our final goodbye, the morning he was buried we made sure to cut a precious lock of his hair. That piece of hair is now kept safely in our home. It is now our last tangible link to our Dad, Maurice, who we all miss so much.
Thousands of volunteers around Ireland will be selling daffodils this Friday (22.March) to raise funds for the Irish Cancer Society’s free, nationwide support services for those with, and affected by, cancer in Ireland. Please help people affected by cancer by buying a daffodil on the day or donating here: http://bit.ly/ICS_HOD
Daffodil Day is proudly sponsored by Boots Ireland.