Some friends of mine are a military couple. I don’t know many military couples and I am intrigued by their sacrifice and appreciative of their service. This gorgeous couple has an incredible bond and a beautiful, romantic story about their marriage….especially during his service in Afghanistan. When I first heard of this story, I immediately thought of a specific Greek myth of Odysseus and Penelope. I interviewed them about their inspirational story involving travel and love. There were other personal and poignant details interwoven into this story having to do with military life, sacrifices, friendships, and lost loved ones which will remain part of their story’s inner layer. The main message is shared here.
When your husband was deployed, I heard of a “pledge” you made until he returned safely. Can you describe the inspiration behind this?
When my husband was first deployed in 2003-2004, to Afghanistan, none of us knew what to expect. It seemed like the Wild West over there but thankfully everyone in the brigade came home and no one was killed. On my husband’s second deployment, however, there were several causalities and with each one I heard about, I started to feel really out of control about the situation. My husband’s battalion was operating in one of the most dangerous provinces at the time. I didn’t think he was going to come home and I started to fear a knock at the door about my husband.
At that time, I was going for a hair appointment and canceled it because I thought, “the only thing I can control at this moment is my hair.” When your world seems to be spinning out of control you latch onto anything that gives you a little control and growing my hair out was my control. I decided to let my hair grow and to only cut it when he returned home safely. Cutting my hair would represent a new chapter in our lives. A chapter that didn’t involve me feeling helpless and in a constant state of fear.
Ten months later when he came home safely, we went together and I cut my hair. That hair cut was like no other hair cut I had ever had in my life. It was emotional to say the least.
From the beginning I knew I wanted to donate my hair to those affected by hair loss from cancer.
Did you donate the hair to Locks of Love?
It was Pantene Beautiful Lengths. I donated 12-13 inches of hair.
What inspired you to do this with your hair?
(writer’s side note): It reminds me of the Greek myth of Penelope and Odysseus. In the myth of Odysseus, while he was at war, his faithful wife wove a burial shroud for his father. She put off suitors by telling them that she would not consider remarriage until the weaving was complete. Secretly, each night, she unraveled her weaving so that it was prolonged for 20 years…..in the hope that she would be reunited with Odysseus. The myth conveys the message of sacrifice, patience, faith and feminine virtue.
I don’t remember doing it for anything other than one of his favorite things about me is my long hair. It was like a tribute to him as well as to give the hair away as a sacrifice. Not just to cut if off for no reason but to give it to someone who has health needs and feel that their beauty was something that they could control in their life. (with the wig made from her hair.)
Do you consider it a “tama” ?—(Tama is a Greek word for a promise made in faith, sometimes in a votive offering. Usually for a miracle.)
He has been in the military for fourteen years now. I don’t know how we made it through everything—the divorce rate in the military is high but I’m an Army brat so I guess I’m used to that lifestyle. Most of all I think it’s the deep love we have for each other that has bonded us together even when so many miles separated us. This life has made us stronger.
Once it was all over, I could have just trimmed the hair but I decided to cut it all off. Because of the sacrifice we made, I wanted someone else whose health and beauty was sacrificed in illness to have something to feel in control of their situation…the wig made from my donated hair.