Kerri-Anne Kennerley has revealed for the first time the "gut-wrenching" first question her late husband John asked after he woke up from the accident that left him in a wheelchair.
In 2016, John, who was 75 at the time, slipped and fell off a balcony at a golf resort in Coffs Harbour, with Kerri-Anne becoming his primary carer until he passed away.
In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, the 65-year-old revealed that because he couldn't speak, she printed out the alphabet and vowels to communicate.
"The first thing John asked me was: 'Am I a paraplegic?' It was gut-wrenching. I couldn't say to him at the time: You're not that lucky."
While always very open about her husband's battle, she told the publication that it was difficult for others to actually comprehend what it's really like.
"John was C3 and C4, which was the neck down, so he could not feed himself, he could not put a fork in his mouth. He could breathe independently, but still only had 40 per cent lung capacity," she said.
"If he got a cold he couldn't cough. He couldn't use the remote button. He couldn't turn a page. They are uncomfortable conversations to have but even bowel care becomes quite clinical."
Last year, Kerri-Anne approached Premier Gladys Berejiklian at an opening for Concord Golf Club, begging for more funding to be allocated to spinal research.
The encounter then provided the base for further meetings to take place, ultimately resulting in a record $15 million allocation to spinal research.
"This money is the most money that has gone into research and treatment and development for spinal injuries in what has to be about 25 years," she told the publication.
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After the tragic death of her husband John in February, Kerri-Anne returned to work a month later on Studio Ten.
Sitting with co-hosts Angela Bishop, Sarah Harris, Joe Hildebrand and Denise Drysdale, KAK thanked them and her wellwishers for the support she's received since losing her beloved husband of 35 years.
"It was a shock because I thought I would really have John for many, many, many years to come and a lot of things happened very quickly so it was a terrible shock," she confessed.
"After he had the accident there was always next, get breathing, get eating, which wheelchair do you get, which rehab, so there was always a next and all of a sudden there was no next," KAK told the panel.
"You're in this black hole, it's so dense, not even light can get out.
"But that said John and I have been a team for too many years, so many years and we were always together, we thought as two and now there's only one."
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Australian Women's WeeklyJan 23, 2020