Cancer: The angel amidst the hats.

“Some people want to recognize God only in some pleasant enlightenment-and then they get pleasure and enlightenment but not God.” Meister Eckhart

With a heavy heart I departed my favorite lingerie store. It slowly sinks in that I would never again wear those lovely Victoria’s Secret bras. Downheartedly, I walked toward Macy’s department store.

I pondered my apparent lack of emotions since my cancer diagnosis. Curious as to where my tears were hiding since so far they had remained securely hidden from me. Not a single tear had escaped since I was first diagnosed with cancer. Not during the lumpectomy procedure, nor the subsequent more serious diagnosis.

It was recommended that I proceed with a mastectomy So on this day my steps were slow and heavy. Vainly I thought about the appearance of coping with only one breast. How does one wear a beautiful low cut blouse with half a cleavage? Was I forever relegated to high top shirts and ugly thick bras?

To add insult to injury, I now had to face baldness. I regretted all of those times that I complained about bad hair days. At this moment I would give anything to keep my hair, any kind of hair. I found myself bargaining, with no one in particular. I promised to never again whine about my hair.

As I entered the department store, neither the brightly colored clothing nor the beautifully displayed cosmetics cheered me up. The mastectomy surgery was scheduled in three weeks. Anticipating my baldness, and in preparation of an upcoming professional workshop, I headed for the hat department.

Still reflecting on being relegated to the ugly bra syndrome, I donned a soft red hat. As if the heavens opened up, I heard a lovely soft voice say to me, “Why you look beautiful in that hat.” Much to my surprise and the bewilderment of the stranger, I burst into tears blubbering about the mastectomy, the chemo treatments, the radiation treatments, the pretty bras and now the baldness.

Without a moment’s hesitation she stepped close and pulled me into her arms. I allowed myself to sink into the softness of her shoulder. The tightly hidden tears found their safe place as they came forth in a torrential downpour. Keeping her arms tightly coiled around me, the kind stranger never moved until I began to move away from her. Without so much as a name exchanged but with a shy thank you and a tender hug I said goodbye. I bought the hat, not knowing if I liked it, but it was a reminder of her, the angel amidst the hats.

Have you ever experienced generosity from a stranger?

Have you ever extended generosity to a stranger?

If you or a loved one is struggling with breast cancer check out this great blog site. www.


Be Sociable, Share!


  1. I love this story.
    As you know, Dawn, I have been along this path too. I never wore a hat but I did have a wig. I hated it! When the parcel arrived in the post I refused point blank to open it and shoved it to the back of my clothes cupboard. It lurked there, hiding, even ‘growling’ if I approached it, and never saw the light of day…
    I don’t remember what happened to it.
    You don’t think it might still be there, do you???

    • Hi Linda,

      I too bought a wig but it was too scratchy for my tender bald head and never saw the light of day. Now that the health threat has past, I think you should dig out that wig and try it on. Maybe it will be your laugh of the day when you look in the mirror and say something like, “What was I thinking?” That was the fate of my wig. Come to think of it, Halloween may be the perfect time to see what is lurking in the recesses of my closet. Thank you for writing.

      Best always, dawn

  2. I have met and still an angel named Dawn. Thank you so much for this moving loving story. Helen

  3. Thank you Helen. dawn

Speak Your Mind


Cancer: Vanity trumps Fear
Portacath: What is it and will it hurt?