You Can’t Do It Alone

A Widow’s Journey Through Loss, Grief, and Life After

When Maria Quiban Whitesell’s husband was diagnosed with glioblastoma (GBM), a deadly form of brain cancer, she was completely unprepared. Now, after going through hell and back, Whitesell knows that she never wants anyone to feel as lost as she did. In You Can’t Do It Alone, Whitesell teams up with licensed therapist Lauren Schneider to offer a welcoming and supportive guide to healing from any traumatic loss.

The Fine Print

When faced with her husband Sean Whitesell’s terminal diagnosis, FOX LA’s morning meteorologist Maria Quiban Whitesell found herself lost. While having to put a smile on her face every day in front of millions on LA’s popular morning show, Good Day LA, no one had a clue the kind of personal toll she was taking on at home. How does one face something like this? Especially in public. From having to explain the trauma to their young son, to responding to inappropriate questions, and dealing with the day-to-day through her husband’s harrowing treatments, death and life after, Maria was caught unprepared.

After dealing with her own grief, Maria now offers the book she wishes she had when Sean was diagnosed, for anyone to deal with any loss.

In her forthcoming book, YOU CAN’T DO IT ALONE: A Widow’s Journey Through Loss, Grief, and Life After, Maria teams up with licensed clinical social worker Lauren Schneider to provide readers with a roadmap for dealing with illness, death, and grief.

YOU CAN’T DO IT ALONE offers a welcoming and supportive guide to healing, helping to:

  • Discuss a serious diagnosis in an honest, clear manner
  • Regain control over your life when it feels like chaos
  • Find your own support group
  • Deal with memories, family and friends
  • Balance work, caregiving, and parenting

Praise for You Can’t Do It Alone

“Maria shares her path to balancing grief with the happy memories of her beloved husband. Her emotional journey will amaze you.”

Mehmet Oz, MD

Emmy Award-winning host, The Dr. Oz Show, and surgeon

“Maria Whitesell chronicles her story of loss and hope. Those of us who have not had to endure gut wrenching personal journeys wonder how those who do make it through. And we wonder how we might make it should our time come. Maria through her own very personal experience gives us all a glimpse and. model for resiliency. We travel with her through her very personal journey but leaves us with truths and experiences from which we can all learn and make meaning. She beautifully brings the reader back to a truth that those of us who work with the human being know vividly, you can not do it alone.”

Dr. Drew Pinsky

Television/Radio Personality, Author, Clinical

Maria has written an honest and beautiful accounting of her heartbreaking journey and how to find hope, comfort and healing in the face of the unthinkable tragedy of losing her husband and father to their young son. She has handled herself with such incredible courage and grace through it all, and you can feel her big heart jumping off the page. Thank you, Maria, for sharing this story that will undoubtedly help countless others to weather such storms and ultimately lead back to love… and, yes, to sunnier days. You are an inspiration!

Danica McKellar

New York Times bestselling author of “Kiss My Math”

Maria Quiban Whitesell’s new book,”You can’t do it alone”, is a powerful, moving, and inspiring account of a woman’s struggle with grief, isolation, fear, and loss. Quiban’s vivid and candid storytelling details the loss of her husband Sean to Glioblastoma, (GBM) a rare and virtually incurable form of Brain Cancer. Maria’s brave and determined outlook first in coping and accepting Sean’s illness, and later addressing the devastating loss with her young son Gus, is both remarkable and solemn, but not without humor and humanity. This is a story of a courage and persistence. “It’s also an informative and insightful guide for those who have suffered the devastating toll of a terminal illness like GBM on the patient and their family. Quiban Whitesell’s story is both deeply poignant and uplifting at the same time. Maria’s book is a “roadmap” for anyone facing the terrifying and cruel reality of a terminal illness, but it is filled with gratitude, optimism, laughter, and love. It is indeed, a love story, filled with hope and joy and survival. But it also about moving and looking forward toward a quality life still yet to be lived. Knowing Maria as I do, this work is also a reflection of her faith, grace, and optimism about life. “You can’t do it alone” is a must read. Not just for those who suffer from a debilitating illness..but for those who seek to understand and cope with life’s struggles while living with persistence and purpose.”

Roy Firestone

ESPN Broadcaster and Author

“Maria Quiban Whitesell takes us through her heartbreaking journey as a loving caregiver for her husband with glioblastoma and a loving mother to her young son. Her articulate yet unfiltered account provides a raw narrative of the impact of this terrible disease on her family. Her message that ‘you can’t do it alone’ is poignantly conveyed, which makes this a must-read not only for caregivers on the front line of a terminal disease but also for those who are looking to support caregivers.”

Dr. Timothy F. Cloughesy

Professor and Director, UCLA Neuro-Oncology Program

“Maria’s story is what happens when happily-ever-after is derailed by a cruel reality that changes everything. Caregiving calls upon you to find strength you never knew you had and Maria is as strong as they come. This book is healing and helpful, heartbreaking and uplifting, but ultimately it’s validation of our resilience. It’s about how love lasts and how beautiful memories are made even when facing the darkest night. Maria is a caregiving ninja whose lessons will help anyone facing disease.“

Leeza Gibbons

Celebrity Apprentice champion, Hollywood veteran, and New York Times bestselling author

“The loss of a spouse over many months is, at times, unbearable, and is, at times, a loving experience. I know. I’ve been there. Maria captures the intense highs and deflating lows — by the end of this extraordinary book, Maria leaves us awed, breathless and hopeful…” This book is healing and helpful, heartbreaking and uplifting, but ultimately it’s validation of our resilience. It’s about how love lasts and how beautiful memories are made even when facing the darkest night. Maria is a caregiving ninja whose lessons will help anyone facing disease.“

Tom Fontana


Navigating the advanced serious illness and death of her husband Sean presented Maria not just with grieving his loss, but also helping their five-year-old son Gus understand and adjust. Their story and lessons learned may help other young families facing the unexpected early death of a spouse and parent. With helpful comments and suggestions from grief therapist Lauren Schneider at the close of each chapter, I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to better understand their own journey, or support friends and family coping with young children whose parent is seriously ill.

Donna Schuurman

Sr.Director of Advocacy & Training – Executive Director Emeritus The Dougy Center for Grieving Children & Families

“An intimate, poignant saga of one family’s journey through a cancer diagnosis; modeling genuineness and openness in preparing a young child to face his father’s impending death. Combined with insights from a clinical expert, we are granted a close‑up window into living with glioblastoma, making the most of the time we have together, and navigating the multifaceted manifestations of grief.”

Fredda Wasserman,

Co-author of Saying Goodbye to Someone You Love

“Maria’s powerful book will help many who are trying to navigate the complicated journey of grief. So many are at a complete loss when they experience the death of a loved one that profoundly shakes their entire foundation. In this enlightening volume, Maria turns personal tragedy into triumph and provides practical, accessible ways to cope with the realities of life while mourning her husband.”

Dr. Judy Ho

Award-winning clinical psychologist, TV personality, and author of Stop Self-Sabotage

“Maria Quiban Whitesell’s voice is contemplative and honest, never straying into self-pity or mawkishness. Her advice is eminently sensible, born of experience and bolstered by observations from a trained therapist following each chapter. This is a heroic, useful, and beautiful memoir. It will provide solace and counsel to all else who sadly have to travel in her steps.”

Scott Seckel

Author of Arizona Time: A Novel & Five Shorts

“Maria has gifted us with a tender account of her life, loss and hope. A true labor of love that gives us compassion, insight and wisdom. An important book for anyone facing the challenge of loss.”

David Kessler

author of Finding Meaning: The Sixth Stage Of Grief

“Death is inevitably a part of life. Having to face the reality of death, the loss of a loved one, and sharing this experience with a child, can be rather challenging. This literary work amazingly illustrates the rawness of loss, the difficulty of the caregiver in trying to stay anchored in the midst of instability, as life would have it, but powering through despite the odds. Expect to be drawn in by the sincere love story between Maria and Sean, while simultaneously educated in a clear and concise manner of how to deal with loss, with a very specific and direct road map of how to do so. A proper balance that will leave you affected spiritually, yet aware of tools that can be used in the face of tragedy. I highly recommend this read for anyone experiencing loss, and certainly for those whom are caregivers and having to witness the transitioning of a loved one, in the presence of a child. Thank you Maria for sharing your story and labor of love with us. Know you work is not done in vain, and we are enlightened and inspired because of it.”

Noelle Reid, M.D.

Family Medicine – Trinity Health and Wellness Medical Group

YOU CANT DO IT ALONE is a perfect title for everyone who grieves a loss. And for young families who face life threatening illness of one the parents, this book is full of ways to stay in control when things are uncontrollable. Even when we know that death is a part of life, the reader can learn so much from the author’s grace, strength, honesty and compassion with her own raw feelings going through the most difficult time. The reader learns to not be paralyzed in one’s feelings, rather to know that seeking joy is a choice. Grief is the price one pays for love and if you love big, your grief will be big too. I loved the acts of kindness the author shared that people can do for you because often when friends go through situations like this we don’t know what to do or say. I love that the author shares that at a time like this forgiveness is EVERYTHING as well. Grief is forever difficult. It never goes away and the only thing that changes is the ability to recognize it when it comes and to know that your responses will keep evolving in a positive way. As a founder of grief camps for kids, I truly appreciated the author’s advice for how to be honest with kids through the illness and death and even when it’s hard after. I agree that if a kid is old enough to ask a question, they are old enough to hear the answer. Sometimes they need to be prompted to know they can ask questions. I really appreciated the mention of finding grief counseling as a necessary action for self care, and that even finding a kids grief camp is a great resource:) I loved the suggestions for more videos for the kids from the parent dying for future moments in time as a powerful way to remember and continue healing. YOU CANT DO IT ALONE gives you permission for all you are feeling and dealing with when a person dies and the journey in a life threatening illness diagnosis. This incredible book of one person’s experience provides clarity, support and comfort on all levels for anyone grieving a loss. I would give this book to my best friend or my sister if they were ever in this situation. And I have best friends who have been in this situation who would appreciate that Maria took the time to help others’ loss, grief and life after. This book is healing and helpful, heartbreaking and uplifting, but ultimately it’s validation of our resilience. It’s about how love lasts and how beautiful memories are made even when facing the darkest night. Maria is a caregiving ninja whose lessons will help anyone facing disease.“

Karen Phelps Moyer

Founder, Camp Erin Founder, Camp Mariposa

“This rare and raw look at a testimony to life, love, and the heart-wrenching journey of saying goodbye to the ones we hold most dear is going to help many, many people. No one wants to have to write this story, I am just grateful Maria Quiban Whitesell had the compassion and strength to do it.”

Brook Lee

Miss Universe 1997, television host/executive producer of the hit show Modern Wahine Hawaii

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    6 November

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    By Maria Quiban Whitesell

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