3 years ago I began growing my hair, about this time of year. Months earlier, my wife’s Aunt, with whom we lived for several years, had passed away from cancer. It was a huge blow to the family. In many ways Lee was the lynch pin that held everyone together, she never was able to have children of her own so she found it so important to keep the family unit tight and together. Every birthday or holiday, even some self-created ones (Christmas in July for example) everyone would come together if even for a few hours.
At the time, I think people took that closeness for granted, and almost went to events with a touch of resentment. After she passed, the family grew more distant. These events became further and further apart, and 3.5 years later they almost don’t exist. She was the glue that held it all together, and during her final days it was the most together the family had been in my time around.
That fall I began to grow my hair with the intention of getting it to the bare minimum 8-inches and completing the donation. Fact is, I had never had hair before and it became comfortable for me. I enjoyed the novelty of it, and how it made me feel. It’s not that everyone loved it, in fact it was a love or hate situation for sure. A foot-long mohawk will undoubtedly, have people on either side of the debate. But it made me feel younger, and maybe even more fun.
Today was my younger son’s 5th birthday, and over the past 2 months I have been thinking about cutting it daily almost. I said to him at breakfast that I was going to do it today, and we could donate it so it’s almost like he is giving a birthday gift to sick children in need (The organization I donated to makes wigs, nonprofit, and donates them to children with various cancers). He loved the idea.
After I had cut my hair I realized something else. To me the hair was a new thing, something I had started at age 29, but to my children, that hair was all they ever knew of Daddy. When I began growing it Carrick was 3 and Odin was 1. I leave to pick them up from school in 5 minutes and I am eager to see their shocked little faces. I hope they like it because I feel way more like myself today.
The opportunity to give something back to children in need is so valuable to me. Even though it is such a small token, it means so much to me, and my PTSD healing process. If anyone would like information about the organization I used please email me, reach me on Twitter or comment on this post, I would be happy to pass that along.
Do what you can to make the people around you feel better, life is hard enough without carving out a negative space for yourself.