Longtime hair stylist Cynthia Mitchell (right), who established BreCyn Salon in Everett in 1986, retired on Wednesday. She is shown here in 2016 with Emily Douglas, now Emily Ochs, the co-worker to whom she turned over her salon that year. Mitchell continued to work there until last week. (Andy Bronson / Herald file)

Longtime hair stylist Cynthia Mitchell (right), who established BreCyn Salon in Everett in 1986, retired on Wednesday. She is shown here in 2016 with Emily Douglas, now Emily Ochs, the co-worker to whom she turned over her salon that year. Mitchell continued to work there until last week. (Andy Bronson / Herald file)

Salon founder is retired as a hairstylist, not as a seeker

Devastating loss of her daughter led Cynthia Mitchell to turn to reading, writing about eternity.

On a Facebook page she calls Eternity Scout – Cynthia Mitchell, she writes “Little Nuggets of Thought.” After retiring from BreCyn Salon, a business she started in 1986, the Everett hairstylist will have more time to share what she’s come to believe since the life-altering loss of her only child.

“Thank you for all of the wonderful years,” Mitchell, 72, wrote on Facebook last week and in a farewell message to longtime clients. Announcing her retirement — her last day in the salon was Wednesday — she wrote that “the friendships I have acquired over these years are invaluable to me.”

Her professional story has an unusual chapter. Mitchell, who’d been a hairstylist since 1971, decided in 2016 to give her business to a 29-year-old employee. Emily Ochs now runs BreCyn. The salon is at 8300 Beverly Blvd. near the Everett Mall.

A 2017 Herald article explained how Mitchell, not wanting a stranger to take over the business, gifted it in stages to the young hairdresser. Mitchell, who still worked there a couple days a week, kept the property in the agreement that called for the salon’s new owner to pay rent.

Ochs, who was Emily Douglas at the time of the takeover, said in 2017 that Mitchell’s mentorship was a gift as well. “It’s been a huge relief knowing that Cyndi’s there, and to pick her brain,” she told The Herald.

It is Mitchell’s personal story — the terrible loss of her daughter Breana in 2006 — that continues to fuel what she’s doing today.

Everett’s Breana Langan was 29 when she died, with a 5-month-old son and a husband who’d served with the Army in Iraq. She’d been taking a medication and had health issues, her mother said in a 2007 Herald interview, adding “she went to sleep one night and didn’t wake up.”

Out of her heartbreak, Mitchell began a quest. She wanted to understand what happens when someone dies, and to affirm for herself that a person is never truly lost. Reading, reading and more reading took her on a spiritual journey and led her to explore science. She re-read the Bible, learned about other religious beliefs, and sought out the stories of hospice workers and those who’ve shared near-death experiences.

“The Bible, for me in the end, couldn’t answer my questions,” she said.

From all her exploring, in 2015 she released her own self-published book, “When You Think About It,” subtitled “A Fact-finding Journey to Discover My Daughter’s Eternal Home.” Sources listed in her book include “The Biology of Belief” by Bruce Lipton and Francis Collins’ “The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief.”

In her retirement announcement, Mitchell wrote that “everything changed” with the loss of her daughter. “I became a researcher consumed with finding scientific evidence that supports proof of eternal life.” That explains her social media label, “Eternity Scout.”

She kept on writing, and will soon publish another book, “The Day My World Stopped.”

At home near Everett’s Howarth Park, Mitchell exuded peace and positivity Thursday as she talked about what drives her.

“My whole objective is to eliminate fear. We go on. We are energy,” said Mitchell, who believes her daughter is always with her. The salon’s name, BreCyn, was always a combination of their first names.

She shared her certainty in the farewell to clients and colleagues. “We will be with our loved ones again — and our beloved pets,” Mitchell wrote, inviting all who are interested to follow her on the Eternity Scout Facebook page.

With her second book finished, Mitchell keeps writing. Those daily nuggets come to her all the time, whether she’s out driving or home having a quiet day. One day in June, she wrote: “Life becomes an intriguing adventure when we act on the little nudges that are presented to us, and not ignore them.”

Mitchell, who once thought she’d never quit working, said that’s how it was with the decision to retire. A nudge came — she woke up one morning and knew it was time.

Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460; jmuhlstein@heraldnet.com.

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