This is a picture of my Mother,Rose Florence, aged 18
She had beautiful auburn hair.
When I saw her shock and grief; I knew
the time had come, and true, chemo,
like a thief, stole my Mother's crowning glory.
The treatment itself had its own back story
of coloured chemo jewels in various hues;
poisons fizzing in senescent tubes defying
the explanation from the nurse who was lying
when saying to her ‘this will be good for you’’.
Marks & Spencer’s coffee lounge – of all places!
At the time it felt watching were a million faces.
And the shock of it, while eating lunch,
when all her hair fell out in a tired, dyed bunch.
The chemicals poured on it over the years
Didn’t matter now as she sat there in tears.
The auburn hair dye money washed down the drain,
Is worth nothing now she’s in such emotional pain.
Swiftly clearing the table and scooping up hair,
wishing upon wish no one would stare or care.
We went straight to the loo and out came a comb.
(there was a minor panic when she thought she'd left it at home.)
A birthday present, a silk scarf, now became her hat.
Then very softly she mentioned that -
(while glancing at her new skinhead look),
there was in her cat diary address book,
the address of a wigmaker quite close by,
and 'would I drive her there?’ Meanwhile
we talked about styles, and this and that,
and also how a wig would be her new chemo hat.
A brown wig? A blonde wig? Straight or curly?
A short style? A glam style ‘ooh darling’- Miss Hurly?
But 70 we agreed, this was an elderly age;
so she chose a grey granny wig ( these were not all the rage.)
Then we silently drove home to comb out the rest,
and put in the garden for birds to make nests.
Years later I found my mother’s hair
with her wig in a bag, labelled handle with care.
Sad remnants of her crowning glory
And a sad reminder of my Mother’s story.
copyright Diana Leighton January 2012