She was texting her best friend and life partner to find out if he wanted to be picked up to go to lunch as they had planned but he wasn't replying. Thinking nothing of it, she went round to his flat only to find the patio door closed but unlocked. Through it, she could see him lying on the floor, looking for all the world like he was peacefully asleep.
Of course, he was not asleep. He had died in the night of a massive heart attack. He was 49 years old.
She tried to keep things together over the next few months and put on a brave face, but there were just too many memories in the small village where they lived. Everything reminded her of a time they had spent together, happy or sad, and she had never lost anyone this close to her before. She didn't know where to turn. The counselling offered by her doctor seemed very basic compared to the 20 years of personal development work she had already done!
Although she tried to keep it together online too, his death had been widely publicised as he was a popular figure in their world, and the Facebook Ads Agency work slowly dried up. Whether it was because people felt sad and embarrassed about her bereavement or whether her low energy and general vibe was sending the wrong messages out into the Universe, who knows?
She was offered the chance to go and stay in a house in her favourite village in Greece for the winter and her other sister, just back from working in Portugal, offered to come too.
This proved to be a real tonic, helped along by a small pension windfall that matured, literally the week before she left.
Hilariously, the next six months were to be the coldest for 15 years in that part of Greece and there were many days where all the clothes available had to be worn all at once. Hot water bottles made a reappearance in their lives! But it was sunny, they were a healthy walk from the village tavernas and the shops and there was hardly any decisions to be made.
This helped enormously and the days passed quietly doing the minimum of work, meditating, journalling and watching Game Of Thrones. All five series!
After Christmas, she was feeling a bit better, still very sad of course but day by day as spring came on and the first anniversary of Steve’s death came around, she had more good days than bad.
She also took the chance to remodel her website, creating an App and a state of the art members area. Then she recorded her original book, chapter by chapter, ready for Audible. This was a job that she had been meaning to do, but the time had never seemed right.
She heard about blockchain and cryptocurrencies and started to learn about that too. She started to buy Bitcoin in little parcels and to trade online to grow her pot of cash.
She didn’t know what she wanted to do with her life, long term but she tried different things out and joined a couple of local groups. It was a time of planting seeds for the future after a year of lying fallow.
The next spring, an invitation came to speak in Australia. It was her past business partner and friend and she set off, in trepidation, but she needn’t have worried, Her talk went brilliantly with lots of great feedback and she gained a whole host of new members for her digital marketing training with 25% of the room signing up. She also passed through the UK and spent lots of time with her (by-now) grown up children.
Summer passed in a blur of heat and swimming, she went back to the UK to speak for the International Coach Federation. The kids came out for a visit, then she spent another very quiet winter broken only by going home to the UK for a month at Christmas. She was in a different house in Greece now, with a wood burning stove and it wasn’t as cold that winter! She had never lived totally alone before and she quite liked it, it made her feel peaceful and braver too.
Another visit to Australia was planned and day by day, as the third anniversary of Steve’s death approached, she felt stronger and happier while she still maintained her three daily practices which helped enormously with her happiness and with her business confidence.
Another triumph in the Gold Coast followed with 30% of the room (60 new clients) signing up for her mentoring programme and while in Sydney, she successfully completed two other speaking engagements in the same month. Heading home to Greece via the UK, flushed with success, she spontaneously booked to attend her friend A’s Las Vegas Mastermind.
“And here, boys, is where you find me! Does that answer your question M?”
"That's quite a journey!" he exclaimed while I took a swig of rapidly melting margarita. "Now let me ask both of you something....what one thing have you learned here, that you are taking home to put into action?"