×
Rob Lowe Stayed by His Ailing Mother’s Side Until the Very End | The Actor Said It Was a Scary and Painful Journey
ADVERTISEMENT

Rob Lowe Stayed by His Ailing Mother’s Side Until the Very End | The Actor Said It Was a Scary and Painful Journey

The long-drawn process ultimately gave Lowe the chance to make peace with her eventual death.

Cover Image Source: Rob Lowe during the A+E portion of the 2017 Summer Television Critics Association Press Tour at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on July 28, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

American actor, producer, director, and podcaster Rob Lowe opened up about his experience of caring for his ailing mother in an eye-opening opinion piece for Newsweek a few years ago. In the article, the 58-year-old revealed that his first experience with unpaid caregiving was at the age of 26, watching his stepmother care for his father, Charles Lowe, who was diagnosed with lymphoma at age 50. Charles survived the deadly disease, but the actor believes the toll of being a caregiver during that stressful time may have contributed to his stepmother and father parting ways two years later.

Lowe experienced firsthand how emotionally exhausting this role is when he took on the care of his mother Barbara Hepler when she was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer in his late 30s. Although she didn't survive the battle with the deadly illness, the star revealed that the "scary, unbelievably stressful and painful" experience of caring for his ailing mother made him stronger than ever.

Rob and Chad Lowe with their mother Barbara at the premiere of
Rob and Chad Lowe with their mother Barbara at the premiere of "The Affair of the Necklace" at the Loews Century Plaza Theater in Los Angeles, Ca. Tuesday, November 20, 2001. Image Source: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

The life-changing experience gave him a peek into the lives of dedicated caregivers, which he called a "stressful and depressing" role as they have to watch "a loved one go through an illness, possibly ending in death."

The Bad Seed actor revealed that when Hepler was diagnosed with cancer, it fell to him and his brothers to "navigate everything from her initial diagnosis to doctor shopping, treatment options, driving her to appointments and, finally, hospice care and the end of life."

The long-drawn process ultimately gave Lowe the chance to make peace with her eventual death. Although her demise shook him, the experience of caring for her in her final days gave him the chance to spend time with her and be open about anything and everything. The time spent together was also some of the most cherished times for him, as he created some fond memories with her.

"Taking care of my mother was scary, unbelievably stressful and painful. It was also a time to be with her in a way that might never have happened under other circumstances. When she passed in 2003, I felt that we'd had the talks we needed to have, that we'd spent the time together we needed to spend," he shared.



 

 

Lowe said that the silver lining 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. Since his mother passed away, The Killing Kennedy actor has been involved in the welfare of caregivers. Lowe is a spokesperson for caregivers and uses his celebrity status to not only raise awareness for caregivers but also inspire patients battling cancer.



 

In fond memory of his beloved mother, he carries on with new ambitions to ease the lives of caregivers while emphasizing the important role they play in the sector. Being a teacher, Hepler passed on the gift of words to Lowe, which he now tries to pass on to the next generation. He remembers his mother every day as an inspiration who drives him to do better and be better. The relationship he shared with Hepler was one of the purest bonds he has shared.



 

Reference:

https://www.newsweek.com/rob-lowe-caregiving-guest-essay-1222522

Cover Image Source: Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images