Award-winning author, L.R.Knost

Parenting Through Cancer: Coping with Emotions

Funny Face“Bedtime. Go grab your toothbrush from the suitcase, okay?”

“Why?” my eight-year-old asks.

“It’s late, and we all need to sleep. Please go brush your teeth and get ready for bed,” I reply, distracted as I pack the last few things for my extended hospital stay after my surgery in the morning.

“Why?” her determined voice questions.

“We need to get ready for bed, sweetie,” I answer, still not glancing in her direction as I mentally go through my checklist to make sure I’ve packed everything I’ll need.

“Why?” she persists, her volume rising.

My attention is finally caught by her challenging tone, and I turn to look at her.

Belligerent eyes stare me down.

I take a deep breath to get through my first knee-jerk, stress reaction, then consciously slow my breathing, quiet my thoughts, and focus fully on my strong-spirited little girl who is clearly in contrary mode.

I wait.

She shifts, uncomfortable, then shoots, “Why?”

I soften my gaze and offer a slight smile.

I wait.

“Why?” she snaps again, a bit more quietly.

I hold her gaze calmly, knowing she needs space and time to work through her feelings before she’ll be able to share them.

I wait.

She turns away, her small shoulders stiff as she sits on the side of the bed, her back to me.

I wait.

A minute passes, then two. Then, in a soft voice, “I don’t want you to go.”

“I know,” I say quietly.

I wait again.

Moments pass in silence, then she whispers, “I’m scared.”

“I know, baby. I am, too,” I reply, struggling to hold back my own tears as I hear hers start.

And I wait.

Soon a small body crashes into me and my girl wraps her arms around me tightly. I hold her close, my heart breaking at the pain and fear I wish she never had to feel. After a few moments she slips away and brushes her teeth, then settles quietly into bed.

I lay awake throughout the night, listening to the even breathing of my sleeping eight-year-old nearby and cuddling my tiny cosleeper close and praying desperately for all of my children as I head into the unknown.

Hours later, I slip out of bed and kiss each sleeping child, then leave for an early hospital check-in. My heart stays behind with my feisty sweet girl and my little cosleeper and each one of my six incredibly unique and wonderfully kind-hearted children. This is so hard. Cancer sucks.

Related posts:

My Cancer Story, Part 1: The Diagnosis

The Gift of a Strong-Willed Child

Backtalk is Communication…LISTEN

Bridge Over Troubled Waters~Parenting a ‘Problem’ Child

The Problem with Punishment

12 Steps to Gentle Parenting

Spare the Rod: The Heart of the Matter

Toxic Parenting: Spanking, Shaming, Threatening, Manipulating


Award-winnning author, L.R.Knost, is the founder and director of the children's rights advocacy and family consulting group, Little Hearts/Gentle Parenting Resources, and Editor-in-Chief of Holistic Parenting Magazine. Books by L.R.Knost include Whispers Through Time: Communication Through the Ages and Stages of Childhood ; Two Thousand Kisses a Day: Gentle Parenting Through the Ages and Stages ; The Gentle Parent: Positive, Practical, Effective Discipline ; and Jesus, the Gentle Parent: Gentle Christian Parenting the first four books in the Little Hearts Handbook gentle parenting series, and children’s picture books Petey’s Listening Ears and the soon-to-be-released Grumpykins series.

20 Responses

  1. Jennifer

    You and your family are in my prayers! God bless you!

    September 28, 2014 at 9:05 pm

  2. Didi

    You and your family are in our prayers. May God’s strength and peace be with each of you through this difficult time.

    September 28, 2014 at 9:14 pm

  3. Dear Ms. Knost,
    I just signed onto your posts and am LOVING them, you and your guests. I am certain I join many in sending you potent thoughts of love and healing. Light surrounds you and miracles abound
    With love and blessings,

    September 28, 2014 at 9:39 pm

  4. Coady

    Very touching, I’ve been dealing with the ‘whys’ of my newly 4yr lately, and this just made me so thankful that I’m healthy and here on Earth to answer his ‘why Mommy’s. Good luck with your journey of Cancer and wishing you all the best for a fast and full recovery!

    September 28, 2014 at 9:54 pm

  5. Th

    I will be praying for you and yours as you continue to fight this battle. I know for my little ones they didn’t understand what was going on until my hair fell out, and then sadly I think their hearts fell out at the same time. My battle then became our battle. They went from being frustrated to becoming caretakers. I would often wake up surrounded by stuffed animals, a crown on my head and sometimes a cuddler. It was a time filled with mixed emotions but God brought us closer with each other and with Him.
    Linda, I pray that God will use this time to bless you in ways you never dreamed of. I pray you and your precious family will see His hand working in this battle and it will hold you up when you may feel like crumbling. I pray you feel the peace and joy only He can give you and that you will feel his loving presence always.
    In His love,
    Theresa Merriam

    September 28, 2014 at 10:38 pm

  6. Heather

    Yes cancer sucks. I went through with my dad. My heart aches and breaks for you and your family. I pray that you all will know God’s strength, courage and loving presence with you on this journey.

    September 28, 2014 at 11:34 pm

  7. Jennifer

    Praying for you during this trying time. May you and your family have extra super strength everyday.

    September 28, 2014 at 11:51 pm

  8. Praying for healing; you are a wonder.

    September 29, 2014 at 2:27 am

  9. i’m so sorry for all that you are going through. i pray for your recovered health. and i am in awe of your beautiful relationships with your children. you are a true inspiration. xoxo jennifer

    September 29, 2014 at 2:47 am

  10. Laura

    We are all here for you, thinking about you and praying for the best for you and your family.

    September 29, 2014 at 8:49 am

  11. Joani Lackie

    May strength, love and light fill your heart every day. Our prayers are with you and yours.

    September 29, 2014 at 12:12 pm

  12. Praying for God’s overwhelming peace and powerful healing for you!

    September 29, 2014 at 3:20 pm

  13. Amy Peters

    So many prayers for you and your people. I, too, am dealing with cancer and children…’s a challenge unlike any other. I was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer with mets to several organs, including my liver, this spring. I am a single mom to two teenage daughters, and my biggest job right now is trying to maintain as much ‘normal’ as possible.

    Your family is blessed to have you, but if you need to talk to someone who has been down this road I’m available. There’s also a great group called Immerman Angels, they will match you with a mentor who is same diagnosis, age and gender….I’ve found it to be a great and positive influence lately.

    God bless,

    September 29, 2014 at 9:46 pm

  14. wow- this is an amazing blog I’ve just started reading. I’m so impressed with gentle parenting info…Please test yourself for MTHFR its a gene mutation very common in miscariages. i take a methylated Vit B because the mutation causes your body to not process Vit B. This is new data and the AMA is not in the loop find a functional medicine dr. peace and hope to you

    September 30, 2014 at 7:26 am

  15. Chanda

    I’ve been following your very difficult fight with cancer. I can’t imagine what you’re going through, but The Lord is holding you and your family so tight as you journey through this. I’ve been praying for you all and following Doc’s posts (which I really appreciate). May love and peace surround you all!

    September 30, 2014 at 2:43 pm

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  20. Melissa

    Thankyou for sharing your very insightful thoughts. I believe I have been changed for the better as I seek the Lords help to live what I know. So sorry you and your family are going through such difficult times. You are in my prayers.

    August 25, 2016 at 8:09 pm

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