As a successful, loving father, Neil Russell had to deal with one of the most
difficult and important responsibilities he had ever faced as a parent: speaking
to his children about his cancer. Diagnosed at age 47 when his children were
only 11 and 13, this is Neil's emotional account of the disease's life-changing impact on himself and his family. Can I Still Kiss You? is both informative
narrative and interactive journal; it will help parents speak to their children
about the cancer that has come into their lives.
The prospect of sitting down with a child in an attempt to make sense out of
a disease that we barely understand ourselves is daunting. Russell provides a
chapter-by-chapter series of questions and answers dealing with diagnosis,
surgery, radiation and chemotherapy during and after treatment. Through his own
experience and research he presents clear, straightforward questions followed by
answers that are understandable to children. Additional space encourages parents
to add personal responses to children and children to write back expressing
fears, concerns or encouragement-in essence, a "message board" for sharing
emotions that are difficult to articulate. Some of the questions he addresses
are: What is cancer?, When I get older will I get cancer because you did?, and
Can I still kiss you?
This insightful book ends with a warm and powerful essay written by Neil's
son, Trevor. Can I Still Kiss You? reveals the remarkable inner strength
and courage of a family dealing with a parent in need.