Staying Strong as a Caregiver: Making Things a Little Easier | Book Recommendations

Written by: Courtney Benisch | Regional Relationship Coordinator for Head for the Cure and Brains for the Cure Ambassador

The past year has been tough mentally, physically, and emotionally. In an all-consuming time where we are distanced from our family and friends, it is hard to get that encouraging support we need sometimes. Now add a loved one fighting against brain cancer, and it can get exceptionally hard. When my mom was battling her glioblastoma, self-care was hard for me, but the one escape I had was reading.

I’ve always been a book worm; I remember getting my first Kindle for my high school graduation and loving it. I always turned to reading when I needed an escape and that became a crutch when my mom was sick, and after she passed. Whether you are going through a hard time, experiencing the hardships of losing a loved one, or just needing a refresher, I have listed out some of my favorite books to help make things a little easier.


Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy by Sheryl Sandberg

This was the first book I read after my mom passed and it gave me so much comfort. “OPTION Boffers compelling insights for dealing with hardships in our own lives and helping others in crisis. It turns out that post-traumatic growth is common―even after the most devastating experiences many people don’t just bounce back but actually bounce forward. And pre-traumatic growth is also possible: people can build resilience even if they have not experienced tragedy. Sandberg and Grant explore how we can raise strong children, create resilient communities and workplaces, and find meaning, love and joy in our lives.”


It’s OK That You’re Not OK (Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture That Doesn’t Understand) by Megan Devine

Watching a loved one go through something terrible like brain cancer is so hard. This book explains it perfectly that it is okay to not be okay sometimes. In It’s OK That You’re Not OK, Megan Devine offers a profound new approach to both the experience of grief and the way we try to help others who have endured tragedy. Having experienced grief from both sides―as both a therapist and as a woman who witnessed the accidental drowning of her beloved partner―Megan writes with deep insight about the unspoken truths of loss, love, and healing. She debunks the culturally prescribed goal of returning to a normal, “happy” life, replacing it with a far healthier middle path, one that invites us to build a life alongside grief rather than seeking to overcome it.”


You Can Heal Your Life by Louise L. Hay

In this inspirational work, world renowned teacher Louise L. Hay offers profound insight into the relationship between the mind and the body. Exploring the way that limiting thoughts and ideas control and constrict us, she offers us a powerful key to understanding the roots of our physical diseases and discomforts. This practical self-help guide will change the way you think forever!”


milk and honey by rupi kaur

I was gifted both rupi kaur books on this list and were pleasantly surprised by how much I love them. The storytelling is breathtaking and there is something so freeing about reading these.  “The book is divided into four chapters, and each chapter serves a different purpose. Deals with a different pain. Heals a different heartache. milk and honey takes readers through a journey of the most bitter moments in life and finds sweetness in them because there is sweetness everywhere if you are just willing to look.”


the sun and her flowers by rupi kaur

“From rupi kaur, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of milk and honey, comes her long-awaited second collection of poetry. A vibrant and transcendent journey about growth and healing. Ancestry and honoring one’s roots. Expatriation and rising up to find a home within yourself.”


Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling

The Harry Potter series is my go-to when it comes to cheering myself up. This book came out shortly after my mom passed so it was great to escape to the magical wizarding world!


No Happy Endings by Nora McInerny Purmort

I absolutely love her podcast, Terrible, Thanks for Asking and her TED Talk so I was excited to read this book! She goes into detail how going through hardships are tough and the reality of it all. She brings her witty humor into sharing her story and how life can be not-so-great. “Life has a million different ways to kick you right in the chops. We lose love, lose jobs, lose our sense of self. For Nora McInerny, it was losing her husband, her father, and her unborn second child in one catastrophic year.”


Leave a comment below if you have read any of these books or if you have one to suggest to the brain cancer community!

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