Three summers ago, Jeanette received an email from a prospective patron who read my Yelp reviews, alongside website, expressing she wanted to schedule an appointment after her hair grew back in following chemotherapy and radiation. During the course of that six month waiting period we got to know each other before ever actually meeting in person. She was married, living in Southern California, singing and recording on her husband’s music projects; rock, their primary genre. Jeanette and I flipped seeing her that first appointment at San Francisco’s Hotel Kabuki; an exotic beauty, dripping in black leather, with one irresistible smile.
Our relationship went beyond a typical hour visit every so often; we stayed in touch through emails wherever our bedouin journeys led us. The topic surrounding spiritual well-being frequently came up, as did the utter importance of what food we choose to enter our bodies. Although bone cancer consumed her, the joy she showed toward LouLou, for instance, regarding LouLou’s handcrafted paper dolls threw us honestly — she’ll beat this, we hoped. Eventually I cut her husband’s hair as well, he too has an adorable charming manner with unique style pairing his wife.
Last year she wasn’t able to travel for Jehrcuts any longer, not even the thirty-seven miles from their Huntington Beach place to my Hyatt Regency LAX go-to suite. Jeanette scheduled V’s housecall, as I’ll presently reference her, V insisted upon ordering all of us an organic gluten-free lunch from their (husband P and V’s) favorite restaurant. V didn’t have much of an appetite, yet did struggle off the electronic hospital bed, to sit long enough in her wheelchair happily chatting and watching everyone else eat. She was that rare kind of person, truly content to give.
Six months ago, famiglia di Schiavo made another housecall for V; I prayed it wasn’t going to be our final visit with her. I leaned across V’s mechanical bed to embrace her, feeling gratitude, but a complete absence of any muscle tone whatsoever. P brought out an acoustic guitar; V joined his playing, singing a few bars they’d written, a tune teeming with pleasure from previous days.
From that initial appointment three years ago V requested short bangs; I persuaded her otherwise, explaining their precise maintenance would be nearly impossible for our intervals apart. There was no way on earth V was letting me leave that particular day without cutting those micro bangs she desperately wanted for so long.
V’s caregiver arrived just as I was finishing; the conversation turned serious as she, V, and P discussed what neighborhood pharmacies would be best to fill the bevy of narcotics making her agony tolerable. Pulling out of their driveway LouLou softly asked, “Is V going to die?” In the subsequent months V grew much weaker, emails became rather brief and spaced further apart. P’s pain in many respects was and remains far worse than V’s. He can’t walk into a pharmacy, leaving with pain meds for himself; ironically that’s partially his vocation, counseling children with addict parents.
Recently when we’d inquire about V, P replied telling us how difficult it was to watch his wife fade away, adding, “she doesn’t deserve this.” It never occurred to us V didn’t convey her well-wishes lately, consequently we did alter our prayers, from a “healing” to V’s “heavenly transition.”
On October 20, 2017 Jeanette read a notification on Facebook, those sent reminding followers how long we’ve been friends with one another. That Friday Jeanette’s reminder was connected to V; which naturally prompted Jeanette’s email reaching out to P. Thoroughly immersed in despair, our dear P had fallen silent until hearing from Jeanette that morning, responding to us writing V passed on September 7, 2017 — forty-two years old.
Unlike other days when her spirit still occupied her body, I now carry V’s essence within me and there she’ll continue twinkling, as others who may have similar experience, also fortunate to know her — especially P, his inner flame glows with the brightest intensity.