March 31, 2021
Josh’s hair was particularly stunning this week. Not once, not twice…but three times I stopped in-the-midst of what I was doing to admire it. I did the same with Ben’s. Why did it seem so crisp and perfect this week? Why did it seem as if it was some type of art?
Then yesterday I read the news. Freddie was gone. It seemed to me God was trying to tell me this was the last time I would admire his work.
I snapped this picture right after Josh’s track meet. His hair again grabbed my attention. He was in such a good mood. I didn’t want to spoil it but I knew he had to know.
His girlfriend Ashley was in the passenger seat. Josh sat in the back by himself. We drove home, my heart heavy for Freddie’s wife Sarah and this young man who had come to love Freddie so much.
We pulled into the garage and just sat there. I turned off the car. We do that a lot, just sit there for a bit in the quiet. I looked at Ashley and asked if we should tell him. She nodded. I pulled up Sarah’s post and handed him the phone.
He read it and looked confused. He looked at me, his eyes searching my face for an explanation, and I slowly shook my head.
“That sucks.” He started to cry.
He handed my phone back, leaned forward and put his hand on the console. I grabbed it and squeezed hard as we both cried.
I looked back at him, knowing this loss would be the first of its kind in his young life. The tears continued. I told him it was okay, “allow yourself to feel what you feel”.
I then started reading all the beautiful comments on Sarah’s post. Freddie was loved. I prayed he knew how special he was. I then looked at the two young adults and said, “No matter how bad you feel, always know you are loved and not alone.”
Still not feeling like getting out of the car, we decided to skip dinner and celebrate Freddie’s life with ice cream. We ate it in the car outside of his salon.
It is strange how much your stylist becomes part of your life. My family spent five hours a month there … seven when Sergio, our foreign exchange student lived with us a few years back. Freddie knew more about us than some members of my own family.
Freddie took Josh from the awkward boy buzz cut into the sophisticated style he wears today.
“He should be on a billboard – that kid has great hair.” Freddie told me more than once.
He not only transformed Josh’s hair but his confidence as well. Conversations with Freddie were unforgettable life lessons. I don’t have any specific examples, but common themes, work hard, work smart, be honest, love what you do, appreciate the one your with…tell them.
I remember the first time I entered the salon. It was way cooler than anything else in our small town. The man in the cowboy hat and boots was also like nothing else around here.
I’ll admit it was hard for me to understand him at first. He had a thick southern drawl, his words melted together. I really had to focus at first. But when you have to listen so intently, that is when you actually hear what someone is saying.
He told me I had great hair and he liked it short. He said he preferred Kate’s hair short too.
I didn’t know who Kate was, all I knew was he loved her. I saw him flirt with the beautiful blonde Sarah, the expert colorist who worked there. I secretly wondered what this Kate of his would think.
It took me several months to realize Kate was Freddie’s nickname for Sarah.
He worried about her all the time. Worried she didn’t get enough rest. Worried she worked too hard. He would tell me how beautiful she was and how lucky they were to have found each other.
My Josh knew how much they meant to each other too. He loved Freddie and his wit and advice and unique spirit. This picture I took was less than a week after Freddie cut Josh’s hair for the last time. You can actually see Freddie’s spirit in it.
Late last night, way past my bedtime, Josh sat down on the couch across from me. There were tears in his eyes.
“I can’t stop thinking about Freddie, Mom. Think I could go to his service on Saturday?”
I agreed it was a good idea.
Josh will be 18 this month. A man.
Maybe Freddie’s service will become closure for both Freddie’s life and Josh’s youth. And maybe, in some sort of joyous way, his memorial service will be a stepping-stone into Josh’s adulthood as we celebrate the freeing of Freddie’s spirit.
A new beginning for each of them.
Rest In Peace our friend. You will be greatly missed.