Family Rules supermum Daniella shares her story with Mamamia’s Mia Freedman on her No Filter podcast

“I was at home with my newborn daughter when a phone call changed our lives forever.”

It was the night that changed my life forever. Hannah, our youngest daughter was just a few weeks old.

The phone rang, which alarmed me because I wasn’t expecting any calls so late. I knew something wasn’t right.

The doctor told me that something was wrong with my husband, Kevin, that I needed to get to the hospital immediately. I just remember hanging up and my mind moving at a million miles an hour.

But before I even had time to breathe, the phone rang again.

It was at that moment I was told my partner, best friend, father of my nine children had passed away.

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I was in total disbelief. How can this be? We have a new baby, we had so many plans — it was going to be our year.

There I was. Just a few weeks giving birth and I found myself a widow and the mother of nine children, all under 17, without their father.

It was — needless to say — a very traumatic period of our lives, with much potential to crumble us as a family unit. I did go through the grieving process, as we all do when we lose someone; the disbelief, the anger and the realisation of it all.

I was faced with the prospect of doing it alone and the thought of him never coming back was heart-wrenching. I kept thinking, ‘how am I going to get through this?’ It felt okay when we had visitors checking up on us but when they left, I saw the tears, the squabbles, the tantrums, the quiet, and the heartache in my girls. The pain was sometimes unbearable.

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