I will never forget the day Tutti called me at work to let me know she’d been diagnosed with breast cancer.
“It’s just a little one,” she said. “Nothing at all to worry about. In any case, if it’s the worst thing that ever happens to me, I’ll be lucky.” (As it turned out, it wasn’t just a little one – it was a grade-3 cancer that required two lumpectomies and aggressive treatment – but Tutti’s attitude remained the same. Upbeat. Unwavering).
And so began the year that Tutti decided to be even more vibrant, positive, colourful, courageous, crazy, outrageous, funny and fabulous than ever.
In other words, she fully intended to kick cancer’s boring (and expensive) butt. (Which i’m thrilled to say, she’s recently done).
In the meantime? There was the little matter of her amazing white hair (“It’s not white,” The Goat once said, meanly, “It’s STEEL GREY.) and the day she realised, about six weeks into chemo, she was shedding like a husky in summer.
At first, it was a few strands on the pillow. Occasionally, the Guru would jokingly ruffle her hair and a puff of silver would swirl up and away, providing beautiful, soft furnishings for a Magpie’s nest.
After a while, her dead straight, gravity-defying, ghost-hued ‘do had truly begun its departure, and it was time for Tutti to see it off for good. (She was having to vaccuum every day. It was like living with a Labrador.)
Q. What’s cooler than a 62-year-old woman with a mohawk?
A. A 62-year-old woman who’s bald. And TOTALLY OWNS IT.
I’m very proud to say that I was in charge of the clippers. Once I’d completely shaved Tutti’s head, I applied her makeup (and also put a bit of foundation on her scalp, which having been hidden for decades by her thick head of hair, was a pale shade of baby mouse pink), then helped her pick out an outfit to wear for her first day as a baldy. Finally, the transformation was complete.
It was amazing how many compliments Tutti received for having such a beautifully shaped, symmetrical head. She loved being so aerodynamic.
And, in a rather nice twist, Matty was no longer the lone family chrome dome.