Julie Comeau grew an online community of fans by sharing her life struggles and medical problems. During that time, Julie and her husband Vince began writing a book, My Book of Hope. Julie has used the book as a coping tool to not only deal with her problems but also the sickness and death of her husband, Vince.
Mandy: For those unfamiliar with your story, can you please provide some background ?
Julie: Is about my Life story as a child, and it takes you throughout my life growing up and all the struggles and challenges that I faced throughout my whole life and what I did to overcome them. Instead of growing up with a negative outlook on life, I chose to have a positive outlook and I wish to leave the reader with some inspiration on how I did just that and I also introduce all the amazing people that I connected with along the way and how they became apart of my life and are still to this day and all that I am doing now to help make a difference not just for me but also for others world wide.
Mandy: What inspired you to start documenting your struggles?
Julie: I began documenting my struggles after my second survival story made newspapers and radio, at this point I was at my lowest point and had lost all hope and wanted to give up but as I thought more about everything that was taking place in my life and what continued to take place.. I also began to think about just how many people out there in this world that might be feeling exactly the same way as I was and how many out there that might be going through something or something similar. Then I thought to myself, how terrible this feeling is and wanted to help people all over the world by sharing my story not to complain or to have pity but in hopes to inspire those who had lost hope to let them know that they were not alone. I wanted to share with them what I was doing to let them know that there is hope and its never too late. For we are all on a journey of our own and that we are all here for a purpose and that it is possible to turn a bad situation into something positive.
Mandy: Through the process of writing this book, your husband discovered he had cancer, how did that affect everything?
Julie: It effects things in a way that we had take a few pauses on my book and set it aside for his health was more important and I knew the book would be there for me to continue when the time was right, and also watching him fight his fight on a journey of his own, he not only fought it alone, we were now fighting it together and I was his biggest cheerleader, and from there the inspiration in all I was doing grew in a very positive way.
Mandy: Sadly, the cancer took your husband, how are you coping?
Julie: It is very difficult, but before he passed away, I remember as he sat on his bedside with me knelt down beside the bed hugging his waste, he stroked my hair saying.. “You’re going to be okay! You’re strong, you can do it!.. Now that he is gone, I am doing the best that I can to raise our two sons. I miss him every second of every day! I find the days longer and nighttime almost too quiet, I miss our conversations and just hearing his voice throughout the house. Being with someone for 26 years you get use to all they do and him being gone.. everything just stopped. Being alone and without him hurts like nothing I have ever felt before. But as I remember his words I know that he would have wanted me to be as strong as I possibly could for our children and for that I will continue to make him proud and know that he is smiling down on me from heaven.
Mandy: How have your children dealt with everything,(your sickness, Vince’s death)?
Julie: Our children are truly soldiers. My youngest son once called me as I stayed by Vince’s side throughout his whole journey. They are very mature for their ages being 18 and our oldest is 20. They have told me many times how proud they were of me for all that I have done and accomplished going through all I have and happy to see the difference that I have made in my life and in the lives of others through my story and as we all are they are missing their dad terribly everyday, but we all stick together and encourage each other and we take baby steps as our journey continues doing all we can to keep each other strong and positive. Just knowing we have each other is a great strength in itself.
Mandy: You completed the book after your husband passed, that must have been bittersweet?
Julie: Yes it was bittersweet for sure.. We tried to finish the book before Vince became too sick and I can remember asking him, what if it does not get done on time and he said that it would be okay if he does not get to see the published copy for he has been there the whole time through the process of making my book and getting my book ready for the world and he knew how much work I had put into it. By him telling me that it was okay I felt at peace when the book was complete, for just having that talk with him made it that much more bittersweet and I know continue my Journey in his name.
Mandy: Your book has been a coping tool, not only for yourself but others, was that it’s purpose?
Julie: The purpose it to let others know that no matter what struggles of challenges that you face or what test life brings your way, that there is a way to overcome and conquer them. The easiest thing in the world is to give up and the hardest thing is to take a hold of life with both hands and not give up! For those who can find strength enough to do just this will seek their purpose.
Mandy: What do you hope for the future for yourself?
Julie: In the future I want to see crowds and auditoriums full of people and bring back hope to all those who have lost it. Sharing my story world wide, TV, radio and it is a dream of mine to have my story made into a movie. I hope to have a book that I’ve been working on published and put out there for children that I am working on one right now. I would like to bring my second project that I am working on and bring it into children’s hospitals and shelters of all sorts and make some wishes and dreams come true through some of the celebrity friends that I work with and make a differences to all those who have lost hope.
Mandy: Any advice to those who may read this and facing their own struggles?
Julie: My advice would be just to let them know that they are not alone, for we all have a story to tell and it just takes that one special person in your life or that may come into your life that will take the time to listen. We are all the same, just different, for we are all facing something in our lives but each and everyone of us may take another path or another route. But know by sharing your story, as I did mine, can help inspire one person or maybe many that thought they were all alone in what they were or are going through. I have always said. “If I can touch one person by sharing my story, then in my mind I have made a difference.
Mandy: Do you have a favorite inspirational quote, you can leave us with?
Julie: My husband always use to say.. “It is what it is!” and I have always said.. “If I can do it so can you!”
Thank you Wendy and Mandy for the interview I am truly honored to have connecting with you! Your two amazing ladies and its people such as you that continue to Inspire my journey.. Love and Smiles Julie.
Interview by Mandy Raytik