THERE was one morning after Felicity Urquhart's husband, Glen Hannah, took his own life in May that the country music star knew she'd reached an emotional crossroads.
She had to embrace life, love and positivity and expel the feelings of anger and sadness that were coursing through her like "poison".
"I woke up and said out loud in my bedroom, 'I choose life and love and this has to stop'," Urquhart tells Weekender. "I've said it every day and it just got better.
"I had to choose life over that sadness. I acknowledge it, I haven't run away from it."
Hannah's death shocked the tight-knit country music community. The Avoca Beach couple were one of the industry's most beloved pairings since first meeting 20 years ago and then marrying in 2009.
Hannah had worked as a musician and a producer with the likes of Lee Kernaghan, Kasey Chambers, Kevin Bennett, Shane Nicholson and Urquhart and in 2017 was named Country Music Association of Australia's Musician of the Year.
But Hannah's mental health battles were well hidden from most of his friends, and most tragically, from Urquhart and their two daughters Tia, 8, and Ellie, 6.
Urquhart, 43, has described Hannah's death as the "saddest day of my life."
"I did curl up, I cried, I screamed - you name it, I've had a go at it," Urquhart says. "I felt like there was this poison pumping through my body and I'm not that kind of person.
"My name Felicity actually means happiness and that's something I've always been able to live, a life of happiness.
I did curl up, I cried, I screamed - you name it, I've had a go at it.Felicity Urquhart
"I have a lovely family, I love my friends, I have amazing people around. I've had a happy life and to have this tragedy put on me, I didn't know how to deal with it."
Urquhart credits her daughters for providing the strength to face the world following Hannah's death.
"I've got two kids, so they're a huge reality check," she says. "They're just into life. They understand.
"The eldest is eight and she will always say, 'Mummy it wasn't Daddy's fault his brain was sick and he couldn't help it'.
"So they've been able to understand that, they've been able to move on with their lives. They miss him, but they don't get down and out about it, so I think I have to be a role model for them as well."
Urquhart's other salvation has been her first love - music. Two months after Hannah's death Urquhart returned to the stage at the Gold Coast's Groundwater Country Music Festival where she performed songs from her recent comeback album, Frozen Rabbit.
The record was produced by Hannah in their home studio and has been nominated for Best Country Album at the ARIA Awards on November 27.
"I hope he's watching and he got that news and that he's proud because I certainly am of the work he did," she says of her first solo album in 10 years.
The country music fraternity has been another comfort for Urquhart and next week she reunites with three of her best friends in the industry, Adam Harvey, Beccy Cole and Darren Coggan for the Young Stars of Country Reunion Tour.
Back in 1999 the foursome were billed as the "Young Stars of Country" by their shared booking agent when they were attempting to crack the music industry.
Since then they've individually amassed various Golden Guitars, chart-topping albums and No.1 singles. What hasn't changed is their friendship.
"It did certainly get us out there," Urquhart remembers. "We made bugger-all money. The agency made money and everyone except us, and that was part of our learning curve too.
"We got smarter in our careers, but it was so much fun. The trips we had, the places we got to see and the mateship that was formed.
"We were young things just so enthusiastic about everything we'd do. We'd jam at soundchecks, after gigs, in the Taragos travelling. It was a whole lot of fun and we were just so inspired and wanted long careers."
The 1999 tour also holds a strong emotional connection for Urquhart, following her recent family tragedy. It was on that tour that she and Hannah first began dating.
"Glenn and I first fell in love doing the Young Stars of Country," she says. "Most definitely there is that memory and it'll resonate.
"There will probably be a night of tears here and there, but that's just part of life. I'm lucky to have this incredible community of country music friends and family and then the fans.
"Everyone was been an amazing army of love that has propped me up."
The Young Stars Of Country Reunion Tour featuring Adam Harvey, Beccy Cole, Felicity Urquhart and Darren Coggan comes to Belmont 16s next Friday.
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