It’s strange, but Alec and I used to talk about what would happen if the other one died. Those conversations always brought me to tears. These days my life is a fantastic concoction of gratitude, surprise and optimism. I can barely believe that my life is better now that my husband is dead.
I found Alec that night lying face down on our kitchen floor. I was told he had been there for about nine hours after having a heart attack caused by a fatal combination of stress and too many medications. Finding him like that was truly sickening. Nightmarish. Surreal. This loss was gutting and this reality was inconceivable.
We had been married since 27 April 2002 and we’d always loved being together. We couldn’t fathom couples escaping to their men’s sheds or girl’s nights. If we weren’t together it simply wasn’t fun. We lived through every season connected in love, ambition and daring. In 2004 we created our No Sleep Apart policy, so we always slept together, even if it took hours for one to return to the other. In 2013 our online business was finally able to support us both full time, which gifted every minute together. Breakfast, work, gym, groceries, movies and restaurants. Perfect.
I don’t remember the first thought I had in the kitchen that night, but I do know some of my initial impulses.
“How did this happen?”
“How am I going to live?”
“I cannot possibly do this.”
“What will I do?”
My clarity now is almost unbelievable, except that it’s true. My mission now as a speaker, author, coach and event organiser is to help people follow their passion.
It is not an absence of fear that propels me. We all experience fear. Fear of failure. Fear of the unknown. Fear of rejection. Even fear of success. I still feel fear most days, but people often say I’m strong and confident. I learned a secret after Alec died. That lesson started first when I was scared to sit on the couch without him. The lesson keeps helping me through, every time I am afraid in my new world. Now I do sit on the couch, with my new love what’s more, and I do build new life even when I’m terrified.
What’s my secret?
I have swapped the pretence of strength and confidence for a dedication to bravery and courage. I don’t wait for the fear to leave before I act, but I remind myself that I am defined by my love and how I demonstrate it.
This commitment to courage permits raw honesty in all areas, because it starts by admitting my fear, then it is implemented by making myself accountable to a higher purpose. There are no lies, no excuses. Only a truthful acknowledgement of my vulnerability and a commitment to action regardless.
This mindset liberates me to admit other things too. I own all my mistakes, hurt, frustration, confusion, and sorrow when I choose authenticity. This is how we sustain the pursuit of our passions and I think it’s the main reason for my progress. This lesson has transformed the most gut-wrenching loss of my life into the chance to prepare my core identity, perceive new opportunities, possess the power of owning up to my potential, and enjoy the empowerment of pursuing my purpose.
So somehow, despite the devastating loss that will always be sad, my life really is better now that my husband is dead.
Kerry Anne Nelson is a mum of two adult kids, entrepreneur, and educator who’s taught in primary, secondary, tertiary and special education settings. For over twenty years Kerry Anne has built businesses in service & retail fields, across several traditional bricks and mortar settings, as well as various online spaces. She loves managing teams, resources, and projects towards strategic, long term growth.
On the 28th May 2014 Kerry Anne Nelson returned from working in her family business to find her husband has passed away unexpectedly in their home. The very next day Kerry Anne realised that everything boiled down to this one question: “Do I let my passion die with him, or do I follow it with everything I have?”
Since then Kerry Anne has invested everything she has into her mission. She sold the business she previously shared with her husband to follow the purpose she felt called to. Now, Kerry Anne is a speaker, author, coach and event organiser committed to only one thing. Kerry Anne Nelson helps people to find and follow their passion. The years of experience she has in business, education, event management and team leadership have set Kerry Anne up for wins that seem almost instant. When it comes to teaching people how to empower themselves in their personal and professional lives, Kerry Anne is the overnight success who has actually been two decades in the making. www.kerryannenelson.com