For her first 65 years, Marsha Coupé had dark hair. She wore it in a blunt pageboy style, with red lipstick. She was married to her appearance, she says. Six weeks ago, he got a number one shave. Then, he looked at the living room floor in his hometown of Davis, California. Seeing the scattered black locks, she put her hands to her head. “I couldn’t believe how good it felt. Like a baby’s head, ”she says, rubbing her scalp as she speaks. “Almost like you are a newborn baby.”
It was Coupé’s daughter, Antoinette, 48, who suggested the cut. “She said, ‘Mom, hair is an accessory. Women give too much importance. Every woman should shave her head at least once, ‘”Coupé says.
At first, she disagreed. “I said, ‘Not all women look good with a shaved head. My head is very flat on my back. And she says, ‘No, Mom. It’s not about how you Sight with a shaved head. It’s about that happens for you when you shave your head. ‘
Antoinette knew this from experience. He shaved his head when a brain tumor was removed three years ago. He’s done it again since then, of his own choosing, but he has mitochondrial disease and can’t dye his hair silver. The fact that Coupé continued to color his made them both uneasy.
“We had a really good chat,” says Coupé. “I make fun of people who have [cosmetic] surgery. I like to have a lively face. And my daughter said, ‘Oh yeah, as long as you don’t have silver hair!’
“She called me because of how contradictory that is. On the one hand, I want to have the face that shows my life; on the other, I have the most dishonest hair you can imagine. Dark, dark hair at 65. And that was a valid point. “
Coupé hated the idea of growing his color, so Antoinette circled the date for her mother’s shave on the calendar.
The two women already saw this phase of life as a “shedding season.” “I think it started with my return to the US in 2019,” Coupé says. a website designer. Born and raised in the United States, she had moved to Kent in England 16 years earlier to join her third husband, Richard, whom she calls her “great, great, great love.” She was still mourning Richard’s death from cancer when the news of Antoinette’s illness came through.
He sold his house and his belongings. “I came back with 13 suitcases of my whole life. Watching someone you love die is the most humiliating experience. And then seeing someone you love fight … Okay. That’s life. It’s spilling out, isn’t it? she says through tears.
The pandemic has sharpened the gains and losses. “It’s getting rid of the way we used to live and adapting what we have now, which in some ways is a much smaller life, but in other ways a much richer life,” Coupé says. She and Antoinette live just a mile apart and “have tried to create the outer life internally” between their homes.
Coupé was a young mother. Antoinette was born when she was 17 years old. “When you are that young, you are really quite interdependent,” he says. He loved to comb Antoinette’s hair; shaving his head must have felt not only like a brotherly act, but a motherly one as well. The new style has helped her “feel more emotionally and mentally free.” She plans to be brief.
“We are living in terrible times,” he says. But he hopes “to get braver with age. I would love to help people not to be afraid ”. To this end, she is working on “a really fun activity book on death.” He got the idea when Richard was sick.
“I see my life as if I have five or ten years left,” he says. It sounds amazing. She is not sick. But death has always felt close, a legacy of growing up “with hell, fire, and damnation exposed from the pulpit.”
“I don’t want to live to be a very old person. I would like to encourage the people I know and love to go for whatever it is that they have a great desire: to be brave in life. “
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism