Kids with Cancer

Dear Lucy, I Was Wrong…It’s Not ‘Just’ Hair

by Shawna Weber
March 6, 2014

When Lucy lost her hair, her mom saw something she’d never seen before.

Dear Lucy,

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I remember the day you were born like it was yesterday. Daddy and I woke up early and went to the hospital, anxiously awaiting your planned arrival. When you finally came, you did so with a ferocious attitude, screaming before you were even fully delivered.

I hadn’t even seen you yet, and the first thing the doctor said was, “Look at all that HAIR.” It was dark, thick, and stuck straight up! The nurses brought you in to me after every test, clean up, and break, and you had a Mohawk.

I thought, how clever, they are fixing her hair already. I was wrong. Your hair would prove to be as strong willed as you and stuck straight up for the months to come regardless of what we did.

As you grew, so did your hair. It was crazy, curly, and thick. I loved walking into your room each morning to see how it had shaped through the night.


Lucy and her baby Mohawk.

Soon you were walking, and your hair grew faster than you did! Everybody always remarked how you were a little girl with grown up hair. You had gotten a distinct part by that time, and as wild as your personality, your hair did what it wanted regardless of our efforts to shape and mold it.

Then, your hair just became too much for your 3-year-old body. It flowed all the way down to the top of your bottom, and you were constantly getting food, dirt, leaves, and whatever was around you caught in your hair. We knew it was time for that first cut.

You were so excited to sit in that big girl chair. You stood so still for Rosie. What appeared before me when she was done was way more than I could have ever imagined. You had a shoulder length bob that was the thickest and most beautiful thing I had ever seen. I cried a little.

Two weeks later, I was told the worst news ever. You had cancer.

At first, I thought, how shallow of me to cry at the thought of you losing all of that beautiful hair. Of course, I grieved for your lost childhood and mourned what you were about to lose, but your hair stuck in my mind always.

That first morning when you woke up and were crying that your hair was in your mouth, and I couldn’t see your pillow case because it was covered in that beautiful brown hair, I cried.


Lucy during treatment.

We prepared you by telling you that all of your hair was going to fall out. We asked if you just wanted to get it over with. You, surprisingly, were so brave and said yes, as if you were casually choosing an item off of a menu to order.

You were scared at first. And we told you, “It’s just hair honey, it will grow back, we promise,” and you told us you knew that, and that wasn’t why you were scared. You said the noise of the clippers were scaring you.

We put on your headphones, and the three of us sang Beatles songs until the last lock fell. When it was over, you turned around and looked in the mirror and you were so proud! You said, “I look like all the other kids, now!” You couldn’t wait to show all your doctors, nurses, and friends.

Standing in that room, for the first time, I saw something I had never really seen before. I saw your beautiful brown eyes. What strength and courage they had in them. I saw an old soul. A beautiful old soul.

Standing in that room, for the first time, I saw something I had never really seen before. I saw your beautiful brown eyes. What strength and courage they had in them.

Why did I decide to tell you this story? Because one day, when you are older and look back on the day that mommy shaved her head and looked so silly, I want you to know why I did it.

I was wrong. I was so wrong! It’s not “just” hair. It was YOUR hair and your health. Losing your hair meant you were sick. It meant your body was at battle. It meant my little girl wasn’t going to have a life of most other 3-year-olds.

That day when we shaved your head, you didn’t have a choice. But I did. I shaved my head for that last lock of yours that fell to the ground. I shaved my head for the look I saw in your eyes after it was gone. For your determination, your strength, and for your fight.

I will no longer tell anybody, “It’s just hair,” because it’s not. It’s the mark of a warrior. It’s just one wound you suffered during your battle. And the same is true for anybody that has this journey.

I will no longer tell anybody, “It’s just hair,” because it’s not. It’s the mark of a warrior.

I promise to never turn down an opportunity to tell your story and spread awareness for the war you fought and are still fighting. I promise to all of your friends who courageously lost their battle to always talk about the day I shaved my head. I will tell them it’s my choice to be bald because my daughter didn’t get the same opportunity to make this choice.

I hope you now understand. I hope you read this and look back at the day I came home with no hair and remember how you laughed at silly mommy. I hope you know that I love you and would go to the moon and back for you if I needed to.

This, my beautiful daughter, with your deep dark soulful eyes and thick dark brown hair, is a small way for me to tell you how much I love you and admire you, even as a 3-year-old.


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Lucy going to school. Lucy is now 6 years old and has been in remission for three years.

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