SEASON 2 Ep. 11: “An Honest Reflection of a Spousal Caregiver,” with Guest Andrea Tom

SEASON 2 Ep 11: “An Honest Reflection of a Spousal Caregiver,” with Guest Andrea Tom


            “I (insert name here) take you (insert name here) to be my lawfully wedded husband/wife. To have and to hold from this day forward. For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish until death parts us.”

Sound familiar? When we say those vows, we say them theoretically. As if we know that this is what we truly vow, it’s what we mean, but we never expect to have to uphold some of them so soon. For some (and I emphasize some), vows are just that, meaningless words said to get through an exciting “day”. Some rush into marriage without thinking about what it truly means. For most, marriage is a sacred vow to live forever on this Earth connected and bonded to one another no matter what lies ahead.

But we don’t think about what lies ahead when we are staring into the eyes of the love of our life on an exciting and celebratory day. We have wishes and dreams; thoughts of the future and how we want it to look. We focus on the “for richer”, “in health”, “to love and cherish” parts of the vow. You don’t expect “in sickness” to happen in the prime of your marriage. You don’t expect death to come so soon.

Being a spousal caregiver is so nuanced, so delicate. It’s a tightrope that no one else can understand. For those who are blessed enough to have that dream marriage; a love that redefines what soulmate truly means, the task of being a caregiver is the most heart-wrenching and difficult task you will ever be given in this life. I know this kind of caregiving, I’ve known and have been blessed with this kind of love. It’s a love where two hearts truly become one, two souls tether together.

Our guest today, Andrea Tom, knows this kind of caregiving as well. Like me, she became a caregiver to her husband in her 40’s when he was diagnosed with Glioblastoma five years ago. She shares her experience; she reflects on what it honestly means to be a spousal caregiver and how she has “soldiered” on. She finds new meaning and has redefined what being a widow and a woman in her 50’s looks like.


Grief and caregiving are teachable moments–this is what its taught Andrea.


Season 2 Sponsor:





Resources from SEASON 2 Ep. 9:


Modern Widows Blog- Me, Myself, and I, 

Family Caregiver Counsil- Do You Mind? Meditations for Caregivers,

Widows Don’t Wear Black Blog- Holding On, Moving On,

Stanford Medicine (Surviving Cancer News)- Cancer and the Family’s Needs,

Cure Today (not just for cancer survivors)- Mindfulness Meditation May Help Ease Stress,

Clinical Trials:

CURRENTLY RECRUITING! Hillman Cancer Center- Olaparib in Treating Patients With Advanced Glioma, Cholangiocarcinoma, or Solid Tumors With IDH1 or IDH2 Mutations,

CURRENTLY RECRUITING! Roswell Cancer Center- SurVaxM Vaccine-Brain Cancer Immunotherapy,


CURRENTLY RECRUITING! University of California San Francisco- A New Way to Treat Children and Young Adults With a Brain Tumor Called NGGCT (ages 3-30)

CURRENTLY RECRUITING! UNC Medical Center- A Phase 1 Clinical Trial Using CAR-T for Glioblastoma


Secrets of Coping with Death with Julia Samuel

Meditation for Carers

For more resources, visit our resource page here.

Hosted by Shannon Traphagen 

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