Wife, Widow, Now What?: How I Navigated the Cancer World and How You Can, Too

Rachel Engstrom’s husband was just 35 when he was diagnosed with leukemia, and Rachel herself was only 28. 

Rachel’s book, “Wife, Widow, Now What?” takes you through Rachel’s beautiful and heartbreaking journey all with comfort, humor, and guidance.

Part memoir, part self-help guide, Rachel balances her personal experiences as a “cancer wife” with advice for others who are going through the same health journey. 

After her husband’s diagnosis, Rachel felt like she and her husband were going through this experience alone. As a young woman, Rachel was new to the world of cancer, not knowing anyone around her who was going through the same thing, at first Rachel didn’t know who to turn to or what to do. 

Through a lot of trial and error, Rachel found her footing as the spouse of someone going through cancer treatment and began to understand how the systems around healthcare work. Engstrom’s account of her husband’s cancer journey is personal, open and honest, she doesn’t sugarcoat or shy away from the challenges that she experienced. She writes about them head-on, in hopes that it will help others. Rachel also highlights the welcoming nature and invaluable support of both the cancer community and the grief and loss community who she found on her journey and who continue to support her today.

The book intercuts Rachel’s narrative with the CaringBridge entries that she wrote during her husband’s treatment, social media posts, playlists of the music she listened to (which can provide a great soundtrack for your reading experience), and practical resources and guides to help readers themselves navigate through the cancer world.

Written with the hopes of giving other caregivers, family and friends of those who are going on their own cancer journeys information, resources, and a reminder that they are not alone.

Buy Wife, Widow, Now What? on Amazon.

— Book review by Aly Haugen, CaringBridge Staff