I met my husband, Dean R. Wellington, when I was twenty-three years of age. Two years later, we were married. He stole my heart from the very first evening we happened upon each other. And as the story goes, he told his sister that same night that “he had just met his wife.”

Together, we created a very real fairytale…not the perfect kind. The imperfect kind but cherished none the less. This included four beautiful children. Frankly, I never thought I’d live a day of my life without him. He and the children were everything to me.

Then the unthinkable happened.

Dean was diagnosed with two very rare forms of cancer. After an incredible fight, he passed away three years later…much later than the doctors had anticipated. At the center of Dean’s fight stood “us”, the people he loved so much and refused to give up for. The voracity of the cancer was too much for him, ultimately. His fearlessness in battling it, however, left an undeniable mark on me.

All kinds of memories that embodied it continued to flood my head and heart during the most trying of times following Dean’s passing, pushing me to adopt the same fearless attitude that he had displayed throughout his own. When I thought of the pain that he had endured, the sickness, the chemo – with none of it ever dimming his light – it compelled me to “go on” as well as “mother” with similar vigor. Instead of harping on the tragedy of our loss, I used it to motivate the legacy he had in me and the kids to live appreciatively, voraciously, and caringly. Doing so healed us and bonded us tightly as a family. It gave all of us our individual wings to fearlessly pursue our unique dreams with the strong support of a cohesive unit underneath.

My oldest son is now a resident in orthopedic surgery at a local hospital. My oldest daughter works in technology at another local hospital. My second daughter attends medical school currently. My youngest daughter attends a UC university. All of them have traveled extensively. assuming fearless demeanors in navigating these life pursuits as well as their choices.

I have done the same. I’ve spoken at TEDx, written books, created children’s television shows, run many companies, launched blogs, given birth to a fifth child, fallen in love again, and presently have a new book coming out called “Be Careful What You Wish For”. It is a story where I reveal something about my life regarding “the paranormal” which very few people know about me, less close friends and family…till now, that is. None of this could I have done without Dean’s unabashed lessons in fearlessness.

The significant mark my late husband left behind opened the door to my own. Not a day goes by that I’m not touched by its power and this reality. And although I would not have wished his loss on the children and I ever, what he gave to us in return brings a comfort and courage of the rarest of kinds.

Not unlike the man, himself.