Leukemia, My Husband and Me: A Turbulent Triangle  |    What Lies Behind  |    Widow's Walk

Leukemia, My Husband, and Me: A Turbulent Triangle

When my husband got sick, because of his personality and how he managed the other components in his life, his diagnosis only brought us closer for a short period of time, a sort of stunned desperation that had us clinging to one another, but then soon after, it tore us apart. As the leukemia corroded my husband’s bone marrow, it also poisoned our marriage. Because Mike wasn’t what the doctors referred to as symptomatic, I think that worked to his disadvantage, aiding him to never really accept the illness for what it was. His acknowledgement of the disease wouldn’t come until ten months later, and by then Mike’s prognosis and our marriage were drifting into dark territory. ~~~

What Lies Behind

The greatest skill one could have is to be able to view yourself as others do. Certain life-changing occurrences can provoke unexpected behaviors in some, and death is one of them. People whom you've had close relationships with suddenly become strangers. When my husband's battle with AML leukemia ended the relationships I thought I had with certain others were nothing more than a masquerade. There are many methods people have in dealing with death, and some of these methods can be destructive for the one who is grieving. Losing my husband was tormenting enough. Dealing with the ineptness, selfishness and greed of others made my pain unbearable. As Mike's wife it was my duty to carry out my husband's last wishes that he had meticulously planned. I was so hoping to share in that reflection, paying him the respect, and memorializing him in a way that he so deserved. When others chose to make it about themselves, I watched the world that had surrounded us for fifteen years disintegrate right before my eyes. ~~~

Widow's Walk

The world often classifies us with labels. When one's status changes there are many obstacles to face. Becoming a widow at the age of forty-six has had a profound effect on me. It has provoked unusual behaviors, and unexpected reactions from others. Some are positive, and some are not. Life alone, as well as socially was an adjustment that I needed to adapt to daily. Join me for the last installment of my memoir series as I confront and address these issues.


This is a work of creative nonfiction. The events are portrayed to the best of Justine’s memory. While all the stories in this book are true, some names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of the people involved.

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