Couple Mourning the Loss of Their Spouses Meet and Fall In Love

Lucy Kalanithi and John Duberstein were both faced with every person’s nightmare: the loss of a spouse. Lucy lost her husband Paul to lung cancer, while John’s wife Nina died of breast cancer. Lucy became friends with Nina in late 2016 after reading a column she wrote in The New York Times about living with incurable cancer. As she became more ill, Nina worried about how her husband would deal with her death, so before she passed away, she told John it might be a good idea for him to get in touch with Lucy, who had lost her husband Paul in 2015. When Nina died in 2018, John followed his wife's advice and urgently wrote to Lucy. He asked a variety of questions, including how to write a eulogy, how to sleep through the night, and how to avoid going insane. Lucy responded quickly with her advice, and the two began writing back and forth. After several months, the pair finally met in person for the first time when Lucy flew to Raleigh, North Carolina, where John lived, on a business trip. There was immediate chemistry, and by the end of the summer the couple had begun to speak openly about their relationship to their extended family and friends. Nina and Paul had given their spouses permission to enter new relationships, and even to remarry. Lucy and John now recognize the inevitable challenges they face, but for now they’re relishing their time together, in all its complexity. As for their children — Lucy’s daughter and John’s three children — they're just happy to have new friends to play with.