I always say, “Do it again, Ruth! Do the inspiring people!” We crack each other up with our stories.
Then, two years later, Ruth has a recurrence of her cancer, and this time she dies of it. Eden, my editor, who didn’t know at the graduation that she had cancer, dies, too.
All this makes throwing away the wig seem cocky. Who am I to say that I’m done with being sick, that I might not have some occasion when I’ll need it again? Then one day I read a magazine article on decluttering your closet and how you must ask yourself, realistically, if you are ever again going to wear that old bridesmaid’s dress or those culottes, and how if you aren’t, you must get rid of them.
And I think, Realistically? Realistically, I might need those chemo drugs again, I might lose my hair again, but I would never, ever wear that stupid wig again. Better to wear the stupid scarves and have people look as if they’re about to cry. Better to let the other women walking around with no hair see that I’m one of them.
And I threw it away.
Essayist and performer JENNY ALLEN is author of the play I Got Sick Then I Got Better.
Related: How Breast Cancer Changed Me
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