This is Gail
‘You don’t get over things. You keep them with you and learn from them. You live by them. It doesn’t bury you but you live with it. What is the point in life if you don’t learn from it?’ — Gail O’Brien
Gail O’Brien had plenty of labels in her 29 years of marriage to Chris O’Brien: wife of a busy surgeon, dedicated mother of three, charity function organiser and medical practice manager.
To the Australian public, Dr Chris O’Brien was an inspiring, much-loved head and neck surgeon who became famous through the reality drama RPA and his bestselling memoir, Never Say Die. To Gail, he was the man she had loved since he had breezed through her door in 1976 with his dark hair, green eyes, very short white shorts and a loud Hawaiian shirt. They had each met their soulmate.
But in 2006, Chris was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour and in 2009, at the age of 57, he died, leaving Gail and their three children: Adam, Juliette and James. As if that wasn’t a hard enough blow, there was more tragedy to come to the O’Brien family only a few years later, when Adam suddenly and unexpectedly passed away due to an epileptic fit.
Now, Gail is ready to tell her story, through the powerful words of her daughter, Juliette. It is a story of love, grief, family and resilience – and finding your own path and purpose in life. Gail found out that she could survive and even thrive in a world without her soulmate. A passionate member of the Chris O’Brien Lifehouse board, she has helped raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in her quest to help conquer cancer.
Gail O’Brien is a physiotherapist and the steward of the Chris O’Brien Lifehouse. She is a renowned public speaker and a vocal advocate for compassionate and holistic cancer care.
Juliette O’Brien is a law graduate, journalist, digital producer and first-time author. She gave the widely praised and moving eulogy at her father’s funeral.