'Would I crawl under the bed or would I start to live a different life?' - Norah Casey on losing her husband Richard
Publishing boss Norah Casey has spoken eloquently about her failures in business and dealing with the tragic death of her husband Richard, who passed away in 2011.
The businesswoman opened up to TV3's Martin King and Lucy Kennedy about her experiences dealing with grief, and how channelling her energy into tv work helped her overcome the pain of losing her husband.
The owner and CEO of the largest magazine company in Ireland, Harmonia Publishing, told the 'Seven O'Clock Show' hosts that the chance to fill in for presenter Vincent Browne helped her through an extremely difficult period in her life.
“The question for me was would I crawl under the bed or would I be able to get out and start to live a different life – not the one with Richard, we'd a chapter planned.
"Sometimes on New Year’s Eve, with a bottle of wine, you imagine what’s going to be in your future and we had all those plans … When he went it was as much that I lost half of myself that I lost my future too," Norah said.
“The question for me was would I crawl under the bed or would I be able to get out and start to live a different life – not the one with Richard, we’d a chapter planned. Sometimes on New Year’s Eve, with a bottle of wine, you imagine what’s going to be in your future and we had all those plans … When he went it was as much that I lost half of myself that I lost my future too.
After Richard and her sister both passed away in quick succession in 2011, Norah was immersed in grief but the offer to do some broadcasting work at TV3 came as a blessing in disguise.
“I didn’t want to run a business anymore," Norah confessed to Lucy and Martin. "I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to do. I knew what I didn’t want to do. I always credit TV3, in fact here in this studio, when they asked me to fill in for Vincent Browne and half mad with grief I said ‘sure i will, not a bother’."
“My mother was going, “what are you thinking of doing?” like in your 20’s, I was always sitting at the other side of the sofa. I hadn’t read autocue since I was 23. I remember pulling up outside and looking at the TV3 sign and saying to myself “What the hell are you doing woman” and I came in, went to the loo and threw up.”
Despite being overcome with nerves, Norah found herself the happiest she had been in a long time.
"On the night, I had a red rash that flooded all the way up my neck, my mouth was dry, I was nearly doing a Vincent Browne moment, whipping the mic off and ‘I’m out of here’ when I’m supposed to be presenting, but something happened. When the autocue started and I started the intro, it just flew," she said.
“I realised then that I was back. If your personal life isn’t bright you can do something to spark your brain and that’s how I ended up doing Newstalk for a year and going back on Vincent Browne the following night. You just kind of live in a different life.”
The Dragons Den star also spoke about her failures in business, maintaining that every bump in the road is instrumental to building a successful career.
“Listen I started off in business when you never talked about failures, you always pretended like everything went swimmingly. Now, if we haven’t got 10 failures under our belt, we’re worth nothing, you know. If everything went well, I’d never learn anything.
“I’ve put out magazines with all the wrong headlines. I’ve spectacularly put condoms on the cover of something and they stapled them. In business it’s good to fail. It’s a hard teacher. If you fail, fail fast. When I know I’m not in the right zone, I do tend to sort of chop and change pretty quickly. I do make decisions very fast.”
Norah lives with her 16-year-old son Dara.
She is currently single after breaking up with her fire-fighter beau Peter Allen last October, and she insists she is in no rush to settle down with anybody else just yet.