I love my hairdresser. He has been cutting my hair for a few years now, but I can’t remember exactly how long. However, I remember the time we first met very clearly. I turned up to the salon expecting to be served by the usual girl who did my hair, but was told that this guy, Mitch, was going to be doing my hair that day. I then remembered that I had forgotten to specify who I wanted when I made the appointment. I figured it would be fine and just went to sit down. It was the start of something amazing.
He had a great sense of humour and from beginning to end of my appointment I was laughing. He also (seemingly effortlessly) cut my hair beautifully. My hair is thick and has a wave/curl to it and he knew exactly what to do. Other hairdressers had always straightened it and I thought this was the only way it could look nice. Mitch brought out the natural curl and made it look better than I’d ever thought it could be.
He saved me from some disastrous cuts. When I went to Germany for nine months, I came back with this awful hair style that was short and long all at the same time. He joked that I shouldn’t have gone to get my hair done anywhere else, by anyone else.
When I was at a real lowpoint after suffering from stress-related illness, I went to get my hair done because I thought it would make me feel better. What I didn’t expect was for Mitch to confide in me about his own experience of stress and depression. He made me feel like I wasn’t alone. It touched me that he cared. I saw a deeper side to him. And he also made me feel great again with his talent for making my hair look and feel fabulous.
He had previously worked as a teacher in a really rough school. He had been physically threatened by the students. It’s no wonder he had to leave the profession. It meant that he could relate to my own experience of teaching and the ups and downs of it. He always asked me how things were going, but with a deeper meaning than with the superficial chit chat of other hairdressers.
When I went to get my hair done at Christmas, all the staff were in Christmas fancy dress. Mitch had gone a step further and cross-dressed as an angel. A ‘fallen’ angel costume. He had long blonde hair and big boobs. He was fun. He was up for a laugh.
The last time I saw him was about 10 days ago. It was as it always was. We laughed. We chatted. We talked about his niece who I went to school with. He told me how proud he was of her. He changed my hair style and I told him I had been a bit unsure of getting a fringe. He said I looked better. He also looked really happy with the result, like he did every time. I could tell he put a lot of effort into making my hair look nice. He was proud of his work. I was really happy too.
Yesterday I found out that Mitch had died. That he had taken his own life. I didn’t want to believe it. But sadly it’s true. It has shocked our small community. Nobody can believe it.
Now I feel like begging people around the world, begging any one who has suicidal thoughts, please don’t kill yourself.
There is always something worth living for. When the black cloud of depression descends, please know that you are not alone.
Talk to someone. If you don’t feel like you can talk to someone you know, you can talk confidentially and anonymously to the Samaritans. You can get through the dark times. And you don’t have to do it on your own.
Mitch, I’m really going to miss you. Rest in Peace. x