028: A life changing loss – Joy Fairhall



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In this episode:

In this episode of The Fearless Females Podcast your host Tegan Mathews interviews Joy Fairhall who shares:

  • How she suddenly lost her beloved husband within six weeks of diagnosis
  • How she created a new normal for her children
  • The steps that got her through her grief
  • How seeing her best friends experience of Motor Neuron Disease has inspired her to create a centre for supporting others through the process of dealing with a life-changing condition.

Tegan’s Take Aways:

  1. When you are going through grief, know that there is going to be a new kind of normal
  2. People start to heal, the moment they feel heard – who can you listen and stop for today?
  3. Let’s make every single day a fantastic memory for tomorrow.
  4. You aren’t defined by your story, you are still you and I am still me.
  5. Ask yourself each day, “What fills your heart with joy?” and then find a way to go do that

About Joy Fairhall

Joy Fairhall of Mind Body Joy is an Emotional Guidance and Support Coach and specializes in supporting those who have been affected by a life-changing condition or event.

Joy knows what it feels like to be dealt a diagnosis of someone you love after growing up with a very ill mother, losing her sister in law and beloved husband to cancer, and then her closest friend to Motor Neuron Disease, and now her grandson has been diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.

She understands that the time of diagnosis is a time of many emotions and you can feel like you’ve been sucked into a Vortex and can’t stop to gather your breath.

As a Master Practitioner of Hypnotherapy, NLP and Timeline Therapy™. Creator of the ‘3 Minute to Calm’ ™ and ‘What fills Your Heart with Joy’™ methods, Joy has a vast selection of modalities to support you through the process to find happiness in your life again.

Contact Joy Fairhall


Mind Body Joy

A Gift for Listeners From Joy Fairhall

Download Joy’s Three Minutes To Calm. This technique is something you can do on the go, anytime, anywhere, at any age, utilising breathing and colours and it’s very, very effective. In three minutes you will be calm.

By entering your name & email address we agree we won’t share your details with anyone! You may receive the occasional emails from Joy Fairhall and Mind Body Joy. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Show Notes: Episode 028: A life-changing loss– Joy Fairhall

Joy Fairhall’s Fearless Story

I’ve had a few life-changing experiences in my life. I had a wonderful upbringing with mum and dad and a brother plus we had an adopted brother who came into our family at the age of seventeen, before I was born.

I grew up knowing that my mum probably wasn’t going to survive so I grew up looking after her. She contracted an illness that was quite unusual and they believe it was when she was greeting the boats in the war years down at the docklands. So, looking back on my life I actually grew up with the fear that my mum wasn’t going to be around for very long.

With that in the back of my mind, I think it made me really appreciate every single day from a young age. It also equipped me very well because I had a wonderful marriage to the love of my life and we had two beautiful children.

We were married for fifteen very happy years, and not long enough, when he was diagnosed with cancer. From the time he was diagnosed, within six weeks, we had lost him. So it was very, very quick!

Initially, they said that he could have some chemo and that would get good results but then they did some more tests and came back with saying that chemo wasn’t an option and he was riddled through with aggressive cancer.

So that raised a lot of fears because I had thought we would have plenty of time to be together and fight this and get through it. I didn’t know it would be cut short and I would only have him for six more weeks.

So, I brought him home and I had quite a bit of medical practice with caring for my mother, although no formal training but I was taught how to give him injections and look after him at home with the support of palliative care.

I really thought that I could do that and a lot of people can’t and I totally understand that but for us it gave us more time than if you were having to go into hospital each day. The kids could go and see their dad any time. The family could come and visit him and we had peaceful time just being together.

The fear I had with that was I had a wonderful husband, he was my support, he was my backbone and he was a wonderful dad. He would work morning shift and I had a job with afternoon shift so the kids had their dad a lot more than most people do. He would get their dinner and take them to sports etc and during the day I could participate in daytime things such as fares at school, camps etc. So we were a great partnership.

My fear was that we were such a team and I was going to be a single mum to two children who were going to grieve and did grieve so much and to me that was massive. A life without my husband loomed large and it came around much quicker than I thought it would. So, yeah, it wasn’t a pleasant time in my life.

How did you deal with that difficult time in your life?

I think, growing up with the fear of losing my mother, I really just wanted to make the most of the time we had together.

Picking up on what you just said, I also think that the children being so close to their dad was actually a blessing. They were so bonded with their father and had spent more time with him by the time they were ten and twelve, which was when they lost him, than most children would.

I wonder if the universe, for those that believe in the universe, did that so they would have more time with him because that time was going to be short. So I look at that as a blessing.

The steps that got me through, it’s never cut and dry and it’s different for everyone but what helped me was getting him home and trying to have some type of a normal life and giving the children access to him so that they could talk through anything with him.

A lot of people don’t get that. If you lose someone in a road accident you don’t get to say what you want for their life. I remember when we found out that he wasn’t going to be with us for much longer, my husband said, “I am still going to be around you in the spirit sense and I am going to annoy you. So there was that bit of humour and that’s how we tried to deal with it. We tried to have the humour and we tried to see the blessing in all of the awful medical side of it as well. But we had each others backs the whole time.

The thing that really got me though is that I have always lived in a positive way. With my name [Joy] I really don’t have any other option! Knowing that people can move out of your life so quickly, it’s about really looking at the positives. Feeling blessed that we had him in our lives for so long, be blessed that we had a happy family and marriage. There are so many people who are surrounded with divorce and who don’t have that happiness.

So, really just focusing on the positives and I also wanted to show the kids that everything was going to be ok even though we had lost such a huge part of our family.

I also wanted to change our lifestyle into where we used words like ‘old normal’ for how it was before, ‘limbo’ for the time in the middle where you want to move forward but aren’t quite sure how to do that and then moving into a ‘new normal’.

Not everyone will do this but my late husband and I had plans to build an extension onto the house. We had built a garage as a test run and we were going to build it all ourselves. So I thought, even though I couldn’t afford it at the time, a good segway from the old normal into the new normal, without a big part of us being there, was to go ahead with the extension.

I didn’t know how I was going to pay for it but I kept busy and I actually knocked down and demolished half the house myself with some help from a friend. We actually lived in three bedrooms, one bathroom and a courtyard that I turned into a kitchen and living area for nearly six months.

When we finally got into the new house it was the joy of building his dream, the joy of having done it together, it was a lot smaller than we had planned but the steps were:

  • Keeping busy
  • Knowing you are changing into a new normal
  • Things aren’t going to be the same as the old normal
  • There will be times of grief (Even now, twenty years later, we still tear up when I hear a song or something like that)
  • Speak about the person who has passed (People would visit and weren’t sure if they could mention his name. We spoke of him often and he is still a part of our lives, even now)
  • Create joyful memories, rather than morbid ones (The kids put a sign on the shed “Dad’s Shed” and he was very much into motor racing and we were given a ‘finish’ sign which was on his coffin so we put that up in the shed)
  • Focus on the positives (which I understand can be difficult, but focus on the good things you had, rather than what you haven’t had)
  • Talk about the feelings openly
  • The support of friends and family is important (Even if it’s just a hand to hold to enable you to heal yourself)

I have a saying I use with my clients and that is, “People start to heal, the moment they’re heard”. I live my life like that. Listen to people. Some people stop to listen but I listen and stop at the same time. People start to heal the moment they feel heard is a big saying.

You’ve also been effected by loss more recently too. Do you want to tell us a little about that?

Yes, but I don’t want it to sound like my life has been full of loss although I have been affected by loss. That is my life journey is being affected by life changing events and then being able to support others.

Before I lost my husband we lost my sister-in-law before that who had been fighting liver cancer and my mum only passed away a month ago. So, the saying that she wasn’t going to live past thirty-two , it just goes to show that the mind over matter is really strong.

My mother was determined to live a really full live and there were times when we didn’t think she was going to survive but we had her to the lovely age of nearly eighty-seven which was wonderful. So, don’t believe everything you are told.

Absolutely, my business is MindBodyJoy because I am a really big believer in the mind and the body being so linked and strong and my mother is one of the reasons why.

I also lost a very dear and close girlfriend to Motor Neurone Disease which is a real mongrel of a disease. She is really my inspiration. She was amazing my gorgeous friend Cassie. Again, she really used the mind and the body to fight this terrible disease.

Cassie really made me define what it is that I want to do in my life and that is to help those who have had a diagnosis of a life-changing condition. Right up to the last day she was here she was still determined that she was going to be walking and getting better and her illness was longer than normal with Motor Neuron Disease. Once again, I believe that was her mind really helping her body continue.

What has come from this experience?

People often say, “You’ve had a tough life” or “You’ve been affected by so much loss”, but I say that I am really truly blessed in this life because it really is an absolute blessing to live this life and be surrounded by people who love me, and I love them, and who bring so much joy into my life.

We are making tomorrow’s memories today so we want to make sure that we create good ones. So my aha moments have really been exactly that. Let’s make every single day a fantastic memory for tomorrow.

Currently, I am working really hard on opening a centre for people who have been effected by life-changing conditions and I have been really passionate about getting this centre open because the medical side is there and absolutely but this centre is going to be a holistic place for emotional support. Where people can drop in and have that hand to hold or talk to someone who has been through what they’ve been through.

So, everything that has happened to me up until today is pushing me to open a centre to help people tomorrow. What happens in a lot of these cases is that people become defined by their back story. You’re the child that was beaten or you’re the person that was sexually assaulted, you’re the person who has cancer or you’re the person who has depression. You are defined by a title. But you aren’t defined by a title, you are still the same person, you are still you. So, the centre is going to be called, “I am still me”.

That will be the total focus with where I am going with the support that I give people in the future. So, that is where it has led me to today. I am working really hard in planning that. I even submitted the idea into a competition, which has been shortlisted to be judged, to get the centre up and running, which is exciting but I haven’t heard back about that yet.

I have obviously been put here and through this, so that I can help others and that’s my goal. The centre is going to open, whether I win this (which includes mentoring from David Kosh and Janine Ellis) or not. It’s going to open, some way or another.

Most Memorable Moment

I’ve had so many memorable moments that it’s difficult to choose one. The fact that I have never really put myself out there to get support. Usually, if I want to do something I tend to do it quietly and I do it myself and don’t ask for the support of people, although I know they would be there for me 100% if I did.

To put a submission into this competition that I was talking about, it needed to be voted for by people. So I did actually put it out there to various Facebook groups and networking people and I asked my family and friends for support. The response was just overwhelming. The support I got from people for this idea, my passionate idea was amazing.

Knowing that there were so many people who were on the same page and could see that this centre was needed and the support they gave me to get that done, I was really touched.

What is something in your future plan that scares you?

I think the thing that scares me about my future is that I wont be able to reach the people who need my support the most. There is so much chronic illness around these days and the link between the mind and the body is really becoming a hot topic.

It’s becoming scientifically proven that if you’re stressed it effects your body and creates disease. So the work that I do, and what others do, is required more and more every day. I would really love to change my focus from working one to one, to one to many and then train and enable other people to support people in these situations as well. Maybe even have more “I am still me” centres around the state and around the world where they are needed.

I think it would scare me if I wasn’t able to get out there and provide this support that’s needed and enable other people to provide that support as well.

Five Fast Fun Fearless Facts about Joy Fairhall

  1. Who inspires you? My girlfriend Cassie. She inspired me and showed me how to smile even in terrible times, she showed me her vulnerability and the way she approached her diagnosis was just amazing so she is my inspiration.
  2. Favourite thing to do each day? To go into my infra red sauna. I sit in there and listen to music or meditate or read and I do that every single day. I just love it!
  3. What’s something that still scares you? Probably losing a family member. I think they’ve been through enough and I just want us all to die of old age.
  4. Favourite technique or app or book? This is going to sound really vain but it’s the one I created, “What fills your heart with joy”. I use this myself when things start to pile up or I think I cant do something or if I wake up and haven’t slept well, whatever it is, I ask myself, “Would the world stop if I didn’t …..”. i.e. Would the world stop if I didn’t get this done or if I didn’t get some sleep or whatever it might be. Then I do my, “What fills my heart with joy” to get back on track. It works every single time. It just helps you to re-set and it makes you feel happy and makes you feel grateful for the day. That and my three minutes to calm I use regularly.
  5. If you could wave a magic wand and fix one thing in the world right now, what would it be and why? Just one? I would love it if there was a cure for chronic illness. Motor Neuron Disease is such a sidious disease, cancer we are making inroads into, and my grandson has type one diabetes and I have seen what the parents go through looking after children with that and I would love to find a cure for that as well. So I will say chronic illness because that can encompass all of those.


Final Question for Joy Fairhall

If you could turn back time what’s the one piece of advice you wish you could give your fourteen-year-old self?

Probably, learn to say no. I was a person who did everything for everyone right from a young age. Right up until the age of fifty which was the first time I said no to my mother when she asked for something and I was doing something else.

So, learning to say no and being true to yourself I think are the big ones. I remember thinking when I said no to her that the world was going to stop now, and it wasn’t a big thing she asked, but because of what I had grown up with her I had always gone and done what she asked straight away.

Where can people reach out to you? www.mindbodyjoy.com.au

Facebook – Mind Body Joy




A Gift for Listeners From Joy Fairhall

Download Joy’s Three Minutes To Calm. This technique is something you can do on the go, anytime, anywhere, at any age, utilising breathing and colours and it’s very, very effective. In three minutes you will be calm.

By entering your name & email address we agree we won’t share your details with anyone! You may receive the occasional emails from Joy Fairhall or Mind Body Joy. You can unsubscribe at any time.


  1. Tracie on September 28, 2016 at 6:15 pm

    Loved hearing this podcast. Such great reminders about where to put our daily focus. Looking forward to the 3 minutes to calm. Thank you Joy and Tegan 🙂

    • Tegan Mathews on September 29, 2016 at 6:41 am

      Thanks Tracie, Always lovely to receive compliments and I know you are going to love the 3 minutes to calm, I’ve become quite a fan of it. You are wonderful Joy xo

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