This story originally appeared at InspireMore.
Life-threatening illnesses are terrifying for everyone.
That’s why Emilie Orton recently decided to help her three young children process her stage 2 ovarian cancer. The way she did so was simple and incredibly brave: She gave her daughter free rein over part of her hair loss journey.
The idea came from her oncologist: “Right before I started chemo, my doctor said, ‘Remember this is emotional for your kids too. You’re not the only one going through it.’”
So when Emilie’s long hair began falling out in chunks, she turned to her 4-year-old daughter Norah for a hairstyle only a preschooler could imagine.
Emilie captured their special interaction in pictures and a video that she posted to Instagram. She explained that having Norah cut her hair just made sense. “Norah is so into hair stuff,” she said. “She’ll notice details like someone’s glittery eye shadow. She doesn’t get it from me.”
In the video, Norah carefully cuts off big chunks of Emilie’s hair, narrowly avoiding nicking her mom’s ear or neck in the process. While Emilie looks a bit nervous at times, she can’t help but appreciate the fervor with which her daughter sets about her task.
This mom’s sense of humor clearly wins out in the end. Whether Norah is giving her the shortest bangs ever or snipping pieces she can’t see, Emilie still manages to smile and tell Norah she’s doing a great job.
At one point, she even says, “Been dreaming of some great bangs, and she made all those dreams come true.”
When all was said and done, Emilie was pleased with how the experience turned out. “It was way more happy and positive than I could have ever imagined,” she said. “You can make funny things out of sad situations. Norah was so pleased with herself. She wanted to keep going.”
Clearly love and laughter are medicines this mom has in spades. Long after her treatments end on Christmas Eve, we hope she’ll look back on this moment with her little one and laugh without a care in the world.
Watch the video below to see the adorably bad haircut Norah gives her mom, and don’t forget to share.