Joey asked me about cancer last night before he went to sleep. I think it was an attempt at delaying bedtime—he often asks very serious questions at this inopportune time, knowing it will be hard for us to deny him an answer.
"Mommy, why did you cut off all your hair?" Joey asked just as I'd turned off his light and was making my dash out of the room.
"My medicine was making my hair fall out, so I cut it off before it all fell out," I told the boy who helped shave my head on February 5, 2005, just one month after his fourth birthday.
"Cancer made your hair fall out?" Joey asked.
"No, the medicine that killed my cancer made my hair fall out," I told him.
"So the medicine killed the cancer?" he continued.
"Yep, it did," I happily declared.
We went on to discuss my cancer at length. We talked about my operation, how I was sick, and about my scars.
"Can I see your scars?" asked little-brother Danny from a neighboring bed.
I showed Danny my scars, answered a few more of Joey's questions, and then slipped out of sight. My boys were sleeping peacefully moments later.
Perhaps Joey was buying himself some time by asking me about cancer last night. Or maybe he was really curious about my once-bald head, now covered by a mass of dark, wavy hair. Either way, it was my pleasure to talk with him about a topic that will forever be etched in our minds.
If Joey asks again to talk about cancer right at bedtime, I’ll honor his request—again. I won’t tell him that, though. It would be just the invitation he’s looking for in his pursuit of a later bedtime. Nope, this will be my little secret.