During the course of cancer, you wear a lot of cancer hats.
Cancer requires you to play a lot of different roles and wear a lot of different cancer hats. And not just the kind that cover a clean-shaven head.
Rodney kept stacks of baseball caps — Tigers, anyone? — around his house, where they were always within easy reach. He was shy of his baldness, which is very common and understandable. Chemotherapy makes your hair fall out, and those fighting cancer are often uncomfortable with their baldness, as it is a physical marker that sets them apart from everyone else.
In time, many choose to embrace the lack of hair, even in public, and go hat less.
Of course, in Rodney’s case, the lack of hair was sometimes the only indication he was battling cancer, as upbeat as he remained.
What else did Rodney wear?
There were the dreadlocks he “borrowed” from a friend, the clown wig he wore in the hospital ward, the other crazy diva wig he wore in the hospital, as well as the countless baseball caps.
But Rodney also took on a lot of roles during his time in the ward. Other cancer hats, if you will. He played pupil and mentor to those who had long been in the ward, and those who joined it recently.
He played cheerleader and offered support to the nurses with jokes and silly costumes, during his daily walks in the corridors. He wanted to stay healthy and active, no matter what cancer had to say about it.
The entire time, as well, Rodney wore the father hat. Just because he was in the hospital sometimes, didn’t mean he couldn’t attend his daughters’ dive meets, plays, or marching band performances.