Love & Hairbrushes

At 23, I still have plenty to learn about life. However, throughout my experiences so far, there was one moment that shaped my perspective on what it means to love another person.

This moment did not come at the end of a date. It happened while brushing my mom’s hair.

I was standing next to her bed in the ICU of a hospital that I would grow very familiar with over the next month. She was heavily sedated with pain medications and unaware of my presence. I gently weaved a hairbrush around shaved spots and staples, thinking about how much things can change in two weeks…

I remembered the way we squeezed each others’ hands when the surgeon used the word “massive” to describe her brain tumor.

And how we went shoe shopping right after the MRI. My eyes watered when the sales person asked how my day was going.

And the way my family sat on my parents’ bed and prayed together the night before her surgery.

And how the entire hospital waiting room had emptied after 14 hours and we were the only ones left waiting.

As I brushed her hair, I realized that the person who had always supported me now needed my support. Everything that I had previously been concerned about– dating, exams, friends– went out the window. In the midst of my own selfishness, God called me to become a better daughter and a more selfless person.

That’s what love means to me. Not the fuzzy feelings you get when the boy you’re crushing on sends you a sweet text. Love is pulling yourself together and providing strength to someone who needs it. Love is putting your fears and anxiety aside to brush your mom’s hair when she cannot do it herself.

(Mom– If you read this, I love you)

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9 thoughts on “Love & Hairbrushes

  1. Jaclyn I’m speechless. This is so beautiful. I thank you from the bottom of my heavy heart, that you shared this post with us. I am right now, going to tell my mom how much I love her. I am praying for your mom, also.

  2. I am fighting back tears after reading this. My mother has had health problems lately too, and it has been so hard. Everyone outside of our family that were “close friends” (we thought) were just telling her it wasn’t a big deal, and she should be healing by now, and basically to get over it and stop being a baby. After a while, things got worse and so did the friendships. They thought my mother was milking me, so they stopped talking to her, even to the point of purposefully avoiding her. As if my mother’s physical pain wasn’t enough to bear, she felt a heavy emotional loss of losing her friends and would cry at night trying to figure out what went wrong. The worst part was that I felt guilty, because I would tell the friends “I’m sorry, I can’t come do this, I have to do these things for mom,” and I thought it was my fault for the longest time. After all, I was the one they thought she was milking. But my mother couldn’t drive, and somebody had to get the groceries. Somebody had to clean up around the house, and get her medicines for her. Somebody had to help her get to physical therapy in, and make sure she was stretching the right way.

    You are so right, with everything you say in this post. Thank you for sharing.

    • Oh Heather, that sounds so hard. Luckily, my family had a lot of support throughout my mom’s recovery, but I relate to the change in responsibilities. My mom went to a rehabilitation center after surgery, where she re-learned to talk, walk, etc. My family definitely had to make some changes, but that’s what you do when you love someone and they need you. My mom is doing much, much better now and I pray the same for your mom. I hope that both of you start receiving the support you need and deserve. You seem like a wonderful daughter– your mom is lucky to have you. I’ll be praying for you both. I hope this New Year brings healing, peace, and a nenewed spirit.

  3. I have no words to describe what you have just written. In my limited vocabulary, it is beautiful and so touching.
    I think the ability to love deeply is entrenched in every person, but somehow the only person one ever finds it most difficult to express love in front of is a mother. It is only in the time of crises that one realizes how much one loves their mother.
    My prayers are with you and your mother. Be brave and keep fighting. Things will become better someday.

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