Published Sep 20, 2021
Pattie Daly Caruso acted as a caretaker to her second husband after he was diagnosed with end-stage cancer when she suddenly passed away four years ago.
Her son, The Voice host Carson Daly, paid tribute to his mother on the anniversary of her death by sharing their final text message exchange and photo.
In that text, Daly tells his mother that she is an incredible caretaker for Caruso.
Daly Caruso took on the role of caretaker 40 years prior when Daly’s biological father — Jim Daly — was diagnosed with cancer. She also battled breast cancer in her lifetime.
“I was in LA on the eve of the Emmy Awards & drove out to Palm Desert, Ca where she was frantically dealing with an out the blue end stage cancer diagnosis for my dad. He was in rough shape,” wrote Daly about his last visit with his mother.
“After doing all I could to better their situation and spend some quality time, I kissed them goodbye and drove back to town to have dinner with my wife & attend the show the next day.”
Related: ‘I Pray For You’: The Touching Story of How Comedian Norm MacDonald Comforted a Fellow Comedian Grieving Her Father’s Cancer Diagnosis
When the call came in the middle of the night he assumed something had happened to his stepfather, maybe a fall.
Instead, his sister told him that their mother had passed away from a heart attack, just four hours after exchanging one last text with her son.
“Thanks for a great visit. So proud how good you both are doing with all of this. I love you. Xoxo,” wrote Daly.
His mom responded by saying: “And we love you, the best son on the planet earth!!! … Thanks for all you did and do to make our lives better and to make us so proud of you. Hope you’re having a wonderful dinner with Siri and a great day together tomorrow!! All our love always, Mom and Dad XOX”
Daly said that he keeps the message to look at from time to time.
“Only reason I’m sharing this is because as hard as it was & is to go on without the most influential, loving force in my life, I’m so grateful that I have this last exchange to look at. You can feel her love in her words (and emojis),” he wrote.
Daly closed out his tribute by writing: “I’m missing my mom something fierce today, but I’m so grateful I’ll get to toast her with my sister and our families, remembering & honoring Kiki for all that she did for us in our beginning and at her end. Hug and kiss those you love today, you never know when God struck a deal.”
After Tara Lassard was diagnosed with stage IV ovarian cancer in 2015, her mom became her caretaker, much like Carson Daly’s mom cared for her two husbands as they battled cancer.
In an interview with SurvivorNet, Lassard explains how it impacted the relationship between the two and the emotional and physical toll it took on her mother.
“It’s a really hard thing to navigate. I think, specifically the beginning, it was an uphill battle trying to help me through what would have been pain relief, and that sort of a fight that it got to be a difficult place to navigate in a relationship,” recalls Lassard of the transition from a mother-daughter relationship to a caretaker-patient one.
“I think that after a while, her ability was to see me as a patient, and that were the conversations we were having later on is that somewhere along the lines, I just transferred in her mind to the patient that she had to care for, rather than her partner and somebody that would be equal in a partnership.”
What Happens When a Family Member Becomes a Caretaker
Lassard is also quick to note that she is well aware of her mother’s extraordinary sacrifices on her behalf.
“I see now my mom has been my caretaker, and I see love through her and what that looks like when it’s the love of a parent versus the love of partner, and I just say that it’s a difficult place to be as far as a caretaker, that it’s often a thankless job,” Lassard points out.
“It’s a 24/7 job. Anytime the phone rings and she sees it’s me, she thinks it’s the worst thing. Largely, I am so grateful that I have her there just to notate everything that happens. We go over things in detail. Her life’s been put on hold for the time being when I’m in treatment. She’s with me.”
This is why Lassard thinks there needs to be more help and resources available to those who give up so much to care for another.
“I’m an advocate now, as a cancer patient, for caregivers,” she says. “That they have ways that they’re able to get their help and try to navigate through what that looks like with their friends and partners and kids.”
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