What would we do without Caregivers?


Supported by my caregiver

     Inside the swag bag that I got as a Cancer Survivor at Relay for Life were two pins for Caregivers.  As I handed my daughter one Caregiver pin, she asked if I thought she deserved it.

     “MK!  The only thing wrong with this pin is that it doesn’t have the correct dates:  2015-2019.”

     Caregivers play a huge role in a cancer victim’s life.  Without the positivity of my husband, I would be constantly living in a pit of despair.  Without my daughter, I would not have been told “you can do this” which is the nudge I needed when I was sitting around too much.  I would not have been encouraged to go wigless and bald when my hair started growing back in. I would not have received the cards, letters, phone calls, and gifts that indicated people were supporting me on my journey.

     Having caregivers teaches us to be humble.  With all respect to those who feel that they don’t have caregivers, I learned that you cannot always go it alone; you need help.

     Donovan takes on the role of caregiver when he meets Lynn.  He loves her unconditionally, is willing to be with her for however long they have together, but he isn’t going to let her get away with her pity parties.  Lynn endures a lot – cancer, a brain tumor, and eye issues. When she finds out that nothing can be done to fix her eyes, she decides to wallow in misery. Misery can take you back to wherever your own self-esteem is most vulnerable. Lynn always resorts to feelings of being damaged and inadequate for Donovan.  He doesn’t take it.


Excerpt cut from Finding Peace  © 2020 Adelyn Zara

“Now go ahead and have that pity party if you want to; today it’s deserved.  But then find that amazing resilience,” he added. Suddenly his voice was ratcheting up in volume and expression. “You are alive, Lynn!  You are free of cancer. Your brain tumor was nothing but an awful nuisance! And yes, you have eye issues. But you are not blind.”

He’s right. It’s just that this time I can’t get the thing fixed.

“And when you’re done feeling sorry for yourself,” Donovan said as he merged over a lane, “let’s find somewhere to eat.  I’m hungry.

     Sometimes a caregiver doesn’t know when to leave things alone.  In Caring for You, Bea is faced with a needy, arrogant ex-husband. She’s also overwhelmed by her business needs, a mother slipping into dementia, a nasty sister, and an employee who is also going through the hell of cancer. Although Lynn calls her generous to a fault, Bea feels like she isn’t doing enough, and all these illnesses weigh her down. But Sam, the wonderful man who falls into her life, sees it as Over-Caring.


From Caring for You, © 2021 Adelyn Zara


“Going to be there for him?  Going to be his ‘Savior’?” Sam spit out the last word. “Is that what you do?  Save everyone?  Even ex-husbands?”


     Sam’s in a unique place because he’s already been a Caregiver, knows the sacrifices it entails, and knows how to protect himself.  Personally, I don’t want an overprotective Bea, but I can certainly appreciate the love that she and Lynn have for one another.  I call my best friend just to hear her soothing voice.

     Do you have a best friend like Bea in your life?  Or a Donovan who loves you despite your poor self-esteem and tries to keep you on track.  Or a Sam who sees your flaws, but still cares for you.

     And maybe you’ve also encountered the kind of person who wants to be your caregiver and you aren’t having it. 

     “You don’t have any sisters here, so I’ll be your sister,” someone told me after she learned of my original diagnosis six years ago.  I was immediately put off by her words.  I have SIX amazing sisters. This woman knew this, knew that I have sister-love in my life.  My mother always said that when one of us was hurting it was like “Sister Alert!” sounded loud and clear. Even though they live thousands of miles away, they were present in my life, caring. You can’t become someone’s caregiver if the victim doesn’t want that care.

     Then there are the people who are trying to find a way to salvage an impossible situation.  They plan fundraisers or arrange relays because, like my daughter, they feel helpless. I want to scream “this is about ME!” But, really, it’s affecting her, too.   Allow these people to do help you in this way.  You may not be the benefit of the research that the American Cancer Association is doing, but if it helps that caring individual get over their own hurt at what’s happening to you, let it happen.

     So, I pull on my favorite pink t-shirt for bed, SURVIVOR blazed across the back.  Eight of my t-shirts have that word printed on them.  Eight fucking shirts. And swag bags with useless information and plastic medals inside. That’s why Lynn hates it so much.


From Finding Peace  © 2020 Adelyn Zara

She handed Lynn a white shirt with the same markings as the pink ones but with the word SURVIVOR scrawled across the back – in pink. . .“And here’s a bag to put your other clothes in.” The word Survivor screamed out from the cream-colored plastic bag. “Yeah, all you have to do is get cancer, endure treatment, wear a shirt that singles you out, and run the gauntlet of over-concerned people in that line.”


Wisely, Donovan let her vent at the end.  But I can see where it’s overwhelming.  Yes, I want help bring awareness to the research that’s very much needed to bring an end to this disease.  I’ll go, walk, listen to the politicians, and thank God that I am thriving.  But I don’t need a purple shirt.

On Word & Upward.

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About the Author

I'm a wife, mom, sister, daughter, and very much not perfect. My own multiple health problems led me to write about women who experience life's traumas, but bounce back because they are resilient. I strive to bring happily ever afters to all my characters.

On Word and Upward!