Jungle Red Salon had the privilege of hosting another event with Cancer Hope on October 6, 2014. Cancer warriors and survivors came to the salon and got to be pampered. We offered complimentary services and a relaxing, fun filled evening. A special thank you to Ashley’s Bakery in Oakwood for the wonderful ribbon cookies!
A letter from a mother whose 8 year old daughter came to the event to be pampered…
Emma is my daughter and I know her inside and out. I know intimately the sound of her laughter, I know exactly how she’s feeling just by the look on her face without even hearing her utter a word. I have celebrated with her in times of joy and held her in times of struggle. I’ve kissed her hurts, wiped her tears, held her hand, and laughed uncontrollably with her. I was there when she learned to crawl, to walk, to ride her bike, etc. I know her! And I travel this life ahead of her leading the way, next to her experiencing it as she does, and behind her holding her up. But, last night I stood back in humble adoration and complete awe as I watched my 8 year old daughter talk a language I can only try to know with a group of women who truly know her on a level I will never fully understand.
On Monday, October 6, Jungle Red Salon, in partnership with Cancer Hope at Southbrook Church, held an evening of beauty and pampering for cancer warriors and survivors. They hosted this same event in the Spring of 2014 but at that time Emma was in her phase of treatment that had us inpatient for upwards of 5-10 days every other week. We couldn’t attend. When we received the invitation to Monday’s event, we quickly RSVP’d and looked forward to it all weekend. When we arrived on Monday, the salon was already full of women who exuded true beauty of spirit. The salon, which I’m sure typically services women with long locks and gorgeous styles, was now filled with women who wore scarves on their heads or whose hair was just coming in or whose heads were bald from recent, aggressive chemo treatments. Men, too! The amazing staff at Jungle Red loved on each woman/gentleman/girl as they took them back to receive a free manicure, wig cut, facial, head massage, etc. Emma bounced back there right alongside them. Periodically she would run out to the waiting room to tell me how AWESOME it feels or to show me her colorful nails (literally every nail was a different color). The pièce de résistance was when she had her makeup done—very understated and beautiful. When she came out I caught a glimpse of the woman she will one day become (as she beats this cancer) and her already amazing eyes, cute nose, and rosy lips were simply enhanced to truly showcase her God-given beauty.
While, yes, that brought tears of joy to my eyes, the tears had already started as I waited for her and had the privilege to hear the stories and talk with some of the other fighters. Gorgeous women in their strength. A strength like I will never have. One born out of adversity and determination to fight an unseen enemy. And the hope. Wow! I met a woman who has incurable uterine cancer. She received a more manageable diagnosis in 2009, yet in 2011, it had metastasized and come on aggressively. She spoke directly and succinctly about life—living it as it comes. She accepted her past (diagnosis) was embracing her present (life)and looked forward to the future for however long she had. She spoke of her love for her husband and kids.
I also met a man whose prostate cancer had gone into remission but after experiencing severe pain in his left shoulder, he went to have it x-rayed. Cancer everywhere throughout his body and bones. Incurable. Yet he spoke with an ever-present smile on his face about his loyal companion since the passing of his wife—his Pomeranian.
Both of these individuals—and others just like them—came out on Monday night to feel beautiful and be pampered. They didn’t sit in their homes on that rainy night and complain or sulk about their lot in life. They sat next to me eating iced cookies and sharing life with joy.
I admit when I picked up Emma to go to the salon it was after a 10 hour work day where not everything went perfectly. It was after a day when I was tired and would have loved to put on sweats, wrap up in a blanket, and shut the world out. I was not in the best mood. But how does one sit among fighters and men and women filled with hope and acceptance and not feel humbled and renewed? As always, since Emma’s diagnosis, my perspective was immediately and radically changed. As the tears fell they cleared my vision and the lump in my throat couldn’t hinder my thanks to an Almighty God who loves each of us completely.
Coincidently that evening I saw this scripture reminder, “Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you might become blameless and pure, children of God without fault.” Philippians 2:14
My life—your life—with all the stresses, frustrations, imperfections, body issues, whiny kids, dirty dishes, etc. is meant to be lived with joy and hope. Why don’t we ever seem to learn that or appreciate it on the mountaintop? I was reminded of it again in a strip mall in Centerville. And I also learned that even as much as I know my daughter and am there for her, she has an entire community of warriors and survivors who relate to her even more and who are there for and with her. She is not alone! None of us are!
Take a moment today to pray for the people who you are yet to meet in life and the impact they will have on you. Then pray that your heart and eyes are open to them. I pray each of us is also a blessing to countless others who can learn from our stories. Your life is a testimony!