About the Book

In 2012, entrepreneur Robert Shearer and his wife Melissa sold their company, Shearer Foods, so that they could spend their golden years together. But after just two idyllic years with friends, family and their beloved horses, Melissa was diagnosed with uterine cancer.

Still reeling from the news, the couple decided early to face the challenge like they would any other: as a team. Their journey together ended when Melissa died eight years later, but not before their profound love deepened to help Robert transform his grief into gratitude.

That love story is the inspiration for We Were Better Together, an informative and moving guide to caregiving for couples facing cancer. Through heartfelt letters, practical tips and expert advice sections, the book offers:

-First-hand caregiving, support and coping skills to lift one another’s spirits
-Expert advice from therapists, oncologists, insurance experts and clergy members
-Practical guidance on estate planning, palliative care and hospice services
-Compassionate insights on embracing gratitude, navigating grief and more

Both an all-inclusive, how-to guide to navigating cancer and a grieving husband’s elegy for his lost love, We Were Better Together is an essential resource for couples facing a cancer diagnosis as well as a much-needed beacon of resilience and hope.

Praise for We Were Better Together

“A beautifully written book and companion for patients and their loved ones living in an unimaginable situation. Every individual travels their own unique journey with many ups and downs, and the anguishes and fears and hopes are shared by family and close friends. Shearer advances a unique and valuable guide to embrace and succeed in this difficult pathway with excellent advice both spiritually and scientifically. We Were Better Together is essential reading for patients and family.”
—Jeffrey Miller, MD, pulmonologist and critical care physician

“Shearer has documented his journey as a cancer caregiver. We Were Better Together is a true labor of love, very inspiring–an outstanding tribute to his wife Melissa that is sure to help countless cancer patients along their journey.”
—Cliff Megerian, MD, health system CEO and ENT surgeon

“Although ostensibly about one couple’s eight-year cancer battle, Shearer has packed this comprehensive guidebook with the kind of advice every couple can use to deepen their bonds and work through difficulties. His choice of experts is impressive. These leaders in their fields impart knowledge in clear, easily understandable language. Bravo!”
—Dean Borth, MD, F.A.C.S. Board-certified general surgeon

We Were Better Together influenced me deeply. Shearer’s love for his wife manifests as love for all of us. It is practical, insightful, real and provides hope to anyone who is touched by cancer personally, through a loved one or as a caregiver. You must read it.”
—Francoise Adan, MD, chief leader of nationally-recognized integrative health program and psychologist

Read an Excerpt from the Book

My sweet Melissa,

Do you remember the first time I told you I loved you? We were sitting by the pond in
the woods behind my house. That house became our first home together.

I never wanted to write this letter, nor any of the letters in this book.

Instead, I would much rather keep telling you everything over dinner in our favorite
restaurant or talking softly to you in our bed at the end of the day, like always. I’d rather
write you notes and attach them to small, surprise gifts to delight you and make your
eyes light up with happiness. I’d rather hold your hands in mine and let you know every
day how precious you are to me.

I can’t do that now, because you’ve flown away (I still have trouble saying you’ve died).
Yet there is so much I want to share with you, so much we still wanted to do. I’m writing
this book to tell our story— not only to honor the bold and brilliant woman I met at a
horse show in Adrian, Michigan in 1983, and with whom I spent more than 30 of the
happiest years of my life—but hopefully also to shine some light for others navigating
the same path we started traveling after your diagnosis in 2014.

Why? Because when we were thrown into the chaos of this experience, we struggled to
understand the research, find the right resources and process all the options. We were
lost. I know that after all we went through, and just as you always did in everything you
took on, that you would’ve wanted me to tell our story to help as many people as

Both of us would’ve been so grateful for some clear advice and practical guidance on
what to ask, what to expect, where to turn and what to do at the beginning of our
struggles. So that’s where I’ll start here, my darling. I hope to do you proud.

With all my love,