The "hidden gem of being a caregiver is that you get to have talks, resolve issues, and express love to one another."
Actor Rob Lowe was 26 when he witnessed his stepmother caring for his father through his battle with lymphoma. The experience helped the actor understand the challenges of a caregiver's role to some degree. Yet, when his mother, Barbara Hepler, was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer in his late 30s, Lowe stepped up to care for her until the very end.
According to Newsweek, Lowe and his brothers ensured that their mother was properly taken care of by becoming her full-time caregivers. From searching for the right doctors, researching treatment options, and driving his mother to her appointments at the clinic, Lowe did it all. When his mother was diagnosed, the 58-year-old actor's professional life wasn't sailing smoothly either and his show, The Lyon's Den, was subjected to low ratings. In the course of trying to balance his personal and professional life, Lowe learned the importance of prioritizing family through thick and thin.
Despite trying hard to save the show he starred in and produced, it was canceled and the actor did not want to choose between his job and taking care of his mother, Lowe wrote in an opinion piece for the outlet. Lowe and his siblings faced incredible difficulty knowing that they would have to see their mother suffering till her last breath after getting put in a hospice.
Hepler ultimately passed away in 2003 after losing her battle with cancer but her death also came with some sense of peace for the celeb. The Outsiders actor admits that he is fortunate to have been able to spend time with his mother during her last days and have every conversation they needed to have while he cared for her.
In my late 30s, my beautiful mother was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer. That was when my brothers & I met the front lines of #caregiving & why I joined #EmbracingCarers and EMD Serono to honor what so many millions experience. Read more on my story. https://t.co/4bnvu5HTux— Rob Lowe (@RobLowe) November 20, 2018
As Lowe's mother suffered through her medical battles, he learned a lot about the difficult process of becoming a full-time caregiver as well. He said that the "hidden gem of being a caregiver is that you get to have talks, resolve issues, and express love to one another, which makes the final goodbye easier." According to ESME, the actor once expressed that it is the human connection and the love you experience with your loved ones that truly matter in life. He was fortunate to have had that with his mother before she died.
According to USA Today, in 2019, around 40 million Americans were full-time unpaid caregivers for their family members, most of whom are millennials. Lowe also admitted that the job of a caregiver is draining, so people shouldn’t underestimate the stress caregivers face as it leads to people ignoring their needs to meet those of their loved ones.
Since the passing of Barbara Hepler, Lowe has become a spokesperson for caregivers and uses his social media platforms to raise awareness for the mental and physical toll caregivers face.
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Dia Dipasupil