The other day Joey emptied all of our video cassette tapes from their boxes. He made sure each box had an opening at its top and bottom and he slid the boxes on his arms and legs. Each arm and each leg had a display of about three boxes. He looked a bit like a robot, his arms and legs held firm by boxes. He shuffled when he walked and he created all sorts of stories about these boxes. Mostly, they were “protectors.” Like armor, maybe. He likes knights and swords lately so it makes sense.

Joey wore his boxes with me to the grocery store. He struggled into the van and managed to buckle himself into his car seat. When we arrived at the store and he was wobbling through the parking lot, he said, “Let’s see how many people look at me.” He knew people would look. He knew his attire was different and out-of-the-ordinary and he wondered what reaction he would get. And people did look. Some smiled and some had blank stares. Before long, Joey peeled his boxes off — he was starting to sweat — and walked through Publix as he usually does, asking for cookies and candy and balloons.

I wish it was easy for me to remove my wig and walk freely in public with my short, dark, and curling hair. Something makes me not ready. I know part of it is that I don’t love what I see when I look in the mirror. My whole appearance is different. I feel naked without my shoulder-length, blond hair. I wish I could see this time in my life as a new beginning, with a new look. But instead I feel self-conscious and hesitant to unveil what lies beneath my borrowed hair and hat.

I wish I was more like Joey. I wish I could walk into the grocery store, proud of my new hair and eager to test reactions. One day.

Jacki Donaldson

5 thoughts on “Reaction

  1. This is a recovery that will happen a day at a time. Joey looks great in video boxes. You may not feel so great in your new hair. If I tell you you DO look wonderful, you might think I’m just saying that .. but it’s true. It’s different, to be sure. More exposed. New to you and to me. Under that new head of hair there still is Jacki. It will grow and you can change it. What is important to me is you survived.

    UTTS Jane

  2. Jacki – I can understand that you feel self-conscious but you look absolutely beautiful!! -KD

  3. I just got updated on your journal after a few entries. I am so proud of you for carrying on with your determination even after the treatments. Yoou are still healing, even without daily trips to the doctor. Everyday is a healing process. Trying to find ways to exercise, time for yourself, time to be you or take a nap. All of those are treatments and healing. I am just now able to exercise in my basement while the girls play with playdough or entertain themselves with toys that stay down there for this purpose. It isn’t much, but enough to get my heart going and make me feel a little better about myself. As long as you are getting a little here and there, the days when you can run for miles and miles will come sooner than you think. Lowering your expectations of time to exercise will only be for a short time, it will get easier as they get older. Your MOMS group sounds wonderful. I wish so much I could have been there to lend support through your ordeal. It is a little hard to hold your hand or give a shoulder to cry on from Ohio, but please know I am always thinking of you and wishing you the best. You have come through this so bravely and I know you will continue to heal and get better with each day that passes. I can’t wait for our visit. Love you!

  4. a beautiful commentary, Jacki. I hope you hold onto this and show it to Joey one day so he can see how much he inspired you.

  5. I love the free spirit in your son & how you allowed him to go to the store (robot style). Had I seen you two that day, I would have thought, “wow- what a great mom! Every mom should let their kids be kids!”

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