”What shall I think about, mommy?” where the words I got to hear every evening from Matilda at bedtime after Robban had fallen ill. Matilda was six at that time and Josefine two years older. Robban lived 18 months after we first got the diagnosis of his illness. I had started to give Matilda small tricky things to think about just before she was dropping off to sleep and this soon became a cozy routine. Sometimes she told me in the morning what solutions she had worked out. I was often impressed by all the ingenious solutions and stories she invented.
It was completely incomprehensible and dreadful to be one day leading”acompletely normal existence” to be suddenly thrust the next day into a completely new and foreign world that meant that Robban was incurably ill. That’s the kind of thing that you hear happens to others and now it’s happening to us. Our small mental exercises were something I found worked well to calm anxious small brains in a difficult situation.
After a while I told other families with children about what we were doing and they also found it effective and helpful. This applied to both families who had been deeply affected by something serious as well as families whose children simply needed a cozy way to end the day. That’s why my children and I would like to pass on these small brain-teasers to other children who might benefit from them.
These ideas need not replace bedtime stories. They could be used afterwards, for example, when it’s time to turn out the lights, hug their cuddly toy and fall asleep. As a parent, you might enjoy giving your children a nice little brainteaser to occupy their minds while they are dropping off to sleep.
At the end of the book I have included a few of the other methods that we used to cope with our difficult situation. We hope that these will also inspire you and help you to manage a similar situation in a slightly easier way.
We will be donating part of the proceeds from the sale of this book to The Cancer Charity and also donating free copies to different institutions such as hospitals and hospices where we believe people might find them useful.
Finally, we hope this book will bring you happiness and comfort, as well as lots of creative ideas! Luna has become a warm, lively and mischievous addition to our family, She wants to be part of this project, too, by helping to provide warmth and calm.