When Madi, founder of the incredible Geelong Mums Wine Club invited me to speak at the inaugural fundraising event for Cottage by the Sea, I was flattered, though secretly terrified. But I love wine, I love Geelong mums and any opportunity to raise funds for disadvantaged children meant that I was a ‘hell yes’ when approached.

Getting up on stage in front of a huge amount of women and sharing my story for the first time was emotional but liberating. It was an opportunity for me to dictate my narrative, rather than have others dictate it for me. After a death, particularly when it’s sudden, you find yourself in a complete bubble. For me, this was partially from the shock that I was experiencing and anyone outside of my close circle was probably wondering what on earth had happened. I began to feel like I had lost any control over my story on how I was feeling, coping and the journey I had found myself on.

This speech for me was a little like my ‘coming out’ moment.

I had recently come back from a hiatus in Cambodia and had taken the time and space to think. I wanted to share my trauma, my loss, my heartbreak, but also the new found ‘me’. The ‘me’ that had come out of this experience with her eyes wide open and ready to embrace life ahead.

I will forever be grateful to Madi for giving me this opportunity and it also allowed me to stand alongside some brilliant women. Emmylou of Emmylou Loves, Abby Gilmore of According to Abby and Samantha Krajina of Geelong Women in Business. These women are inspiring in their own way and to be involved in this evening will be one that I will never forget.