Her fingernails and toenails had all been soaked and clipped, and the pink on her toenails reflected the light from above. Satisfaction seeped from my soul.
“Ma-Maw, it’s time to wash your hair.” I smiled, encouragingly nodded. The long, frayed ends of gray hair were not her normal. No, she’d kept her hair short and tidy for as long as I could remember. I have one picture of her with longer hair, when she was 26.
“No. I don’t need it washed,” she said emphatically.
“Please,” I pleaded.
“Okay.” The defeat in her voice broke my heart.
I had already set the kitchen table with my necessities—warm water, shampoo, towels. I’d have to work quickly.
I walked her fragile self over to the kitchen slowly and carefully, and she sat down in the wooden chair. Though I counted it a privilege, I felt overwhelmed. I had been assigned a task by family and didn’t quite know if I could pull it off. But I’d said I’d do it. And I’d do it. I’d try.
I had to think outside the box because she was too frail to get into the bathtub. Her back was too frail and painful to lean over into the sink. She could barely make it into the car to go to her doctor appointments. Going to a hair dresser deemed out of the question.
Why did I feel like the one deemed useless? I was scared. And I couldn’t have her slipping on that floor. I couldn’t risk another bone in her precious back broken.
I wrapped towels around her soft pink nighty and around the chair. Warm water gently poured from the pitcher in my hand’s grasp over her precious hair. In the middle of the kitchen.
“It’s cold.” She began to pout and cry like a little child. But getting a glimpse of her as a child was precious. A smile grew across my face. It would be over so soon.
With the shampoo rinsed out, I wrapped her in warm towels, slipped a baby blue clean nighty over her sweet head, and led her back to her chair in the living room. Fresh and clean.
“Ma-Maw, it’s time to trim your hair,” I said as I combed her beautiful tangles. The first time I had ever cut her hair. Little did I know, it would be the last.
Every now and then, she’d utter, “That’s good enough.” Her patience was growing thin.
As I dried her hair, I couldn’t wait to curl it, to mask the uneven layers by my imperfect hands.
“Ma-Maw, this is the last curl. Let me just spray it with hair spray, and we’ll be done.” In her weak condition, this was a traumatic experience for her.
“There. All done, Ma-Maw.” I smiled, relief seeping from my weary soul.
“I want to see it.” She stood to her sweet feet like a spring chicken and walked with renewed energy down the hallway and into the bathroom. She looked into the mirror and smiled. “Thank you, Baby. That’s real pretty. I appreciate you for doing that.”
I couldn’t refrain the giggles dispensing from my heart and lips … her attitude had completely changed. It was the best idea she’d ever had.
Because I’m missing my grandmother. Are you missing someone special?