The Veggie Tales Company has this infectious song called ‘Where is My Hairbrush?’ Several years ago through my dear friend’s grandchildren I was introduced to this song. For days I could not get the silly lyrics and music out of my head. Even now as I write this music is swirling around in my head. It got to be such a joke that I did not want anyone to so much as mention just the title because that song would begin playing in my head… The human brain works like that; something relatively insignificant will trigger a memory.
There will always be those simple things throughout your life that become special for only you, such as the memory of this little song. Maybe it initially touched me because the children took such delight in singing it and later teasing me with it. I am not sure. But it brings a smile to my face now.
Since the death of my friend I have found myself being more attentive to those things she had given me over the years. They mean more now. They remind me of her. They conjure up precious memories. I have thought about creating one special place to collect these memory gifts…a ‘friendship collection’, but that is probably not going to happen. These gifts were given to be used not to be displayed and become dust collectors.
I never would have thought that brushing her hair could have made her so happy.
She would say, “Brush it harder” or “that feels so good”.
Sometimes I would ask her if she wanted me to brush her hair and sometimes she would ask for me to brush her hair. I loved to brush her hair in every direction imaginable…from the front to the back…from the back to the front, which made it stand up and look wild. I would carefully guide the brush around her ears not wanting to hurt them.
Her lovely gray hair was so dry and thin. I worried that I would scratch her scalp, but that never happened.
You just do not know what will become dear to you.
It was a means for us to connect in an intimate way. Having someone brush your hair is almost a luxury. Much of the time she was too weak to lift up her tiny arms to brush her hair. I want to always remember how much joy that brought to her. Each stroke of the brush touching each strand of hair was a simple expression of my love. I am so thankful that she let me brush her hair.
I consider myself to be moderately sentimental. I cherish a few meaningful items belonging to loved ones both living and dead. I have my grandmother’s pound cake written in her own handwriting, given to me at wedding shower. I have my mother-in-law’s pearl necklace, given to me one Christmas after she died.
But I have never wanted someone’s hair until now. I had this strong desire to clean the hair from the brush I had used to brush my friend’s hair. I went to the drawer where she kept her brush and it was missing. My heart skipped a beat at the thought that I would not be able to collect this great treasure.
Keeping her hair with me protected in a small baggie is literally having a piece of her physically with me. It is so strange that I would want to carry this with me. So unlike anything I have done before. A single strand of hair contains a storehouse of information about the person…the essence of whom they were, at least physically.
I already possessed the essence of who she was spiritually…it quietly resides within my heart and soul. She shared it with me on numerous occasions. Long lasting friendships become a great treasure when you have risked enough to share your essence with one another.
I will cherish the few strands of hair I have;
along with the tender memory of brushing her hair
the day before she died.