I've been in the business for 13 years now. We've lost a few clients, who have passed, but most were sporadic clients, that only came a few times a year and were elderly. I knew the time would come that we would lose someone we are close to. It happened. Twice this month.
The first one was one of Kylie's clients. Miss Elsie just lit up the room when she walked in the door. She was one of our original Hip Grannies. She always had us in stitches. Kylie worked on her and worked on her and finally, we got her in glitter. In the fall, she asked Kylie to remove her nails, take her out of the book and not ask any questions.
Elsie was a proud woman. We knew what was going on, yet deep down, we hoped she would beat it. Sadly she did not. We did find out when she came home with hospice care. We sent her flowers and told her that we loved her and missed her. We hope that she got to see and enjoy the flowers and know just how much she touched our lives.
More recently, one of my personal clients passed. I had heard last week that she was in the hospital and then heard the devastating news that she would most likely, not be coming home. I offered to do her nails in the hospital with gel, since it has no smell. I wanted to have one last chance to talk to her, even if she couldn't answer. I never got to do that.
I was asked by the family to do her nails for her service. I never hesitated. Kathi loved her nails and to be honest, she would have been pissed if they didn't look great on the final day people would see her. I was nervous. I never worked on someone once they had passed. I am glad Kathi was my first.
When I arrived, her stylist was doing her hair. She had been growing her hair out, so she was unsure of what looked best. I gave her my input and she ended up doing her hair beautifully. She then helped me out, since she knew it was my first time. We chuckled and talked to Kathi, just like we would have had she had a regular appointment with us.
I am so glad I did this. This was my final gift to this wonderful woman, who knew everything about me, my life and especially my fur babies. See, she was just as much of an animal lover. I know there are industry and business experts that preach to us that our clients are not our friends. I wholeheartedly disagree. You can't hold someone's hand for an hour, every few weeks and not have a connection with them.
Kathi was my friend. Elsie was my friend. Hundreds of others are my friends as well. They trust us with their deepest secrets, their fears, they share their joys and milestones with us as well as their failures. They celebrate our successes with us as well as support us when we have bad times.
I was honored to help make Kathi beautiful in the end. I know she would have appreciated it. I am going to miss her. I was just looking through all of the nails of hers I took photos of. She was always one that asked, "What did you learn new?" She would let me try anything. Sometimes, I wasn't happy with the result, but she always was.
I hope in heaven that you look up Tom Holcolmb. I know, without a doubt, he will be doing your nails and so fabulously that you will be saying "Rhonda, what the hell were you doing all of these years??"