Sept. 16, 2021

Kelsey Chittick’s Comeback Story - Our Greatest Obstacles Turn Out To Be Our Greatest Gifts

Kelsey Chittick’s Comeback Story - Our Greatest Obstacles Turn Out To Be Our Greatest Gifts

Kelsey Chittick talks about the emotions and pain of losing a partner, and how the process of grieving and allowing herself the space to feel and release her emotions showed her that healing is possible. She learned that when you share your pain with...


Kelsey Chittick talks about the emotions and pain of losing a partner, and how the process of grieving and allowing herself the space to feel and release her emotions showed her that healing is possible. She learned that when you share your pain with the people that support you, it gets better.

  • Kelsey says she grew up living a charmed life. She spent her childhood in a small town in Florida with a close-knit family. Kelsey focused on sports as she got older and eventually met her future husband in college.
  • This gave her a strong foundation for the rest of her life. Her grandfather was very spiritual and her mother and father allowed Kelsey to choose her own spirituality, as long as it ended in love. Her mom was way ahead of the game, diving deep into self-improvement and meditation well before it was cool.
  • She didn’t struggle as a child in the same way that some others have. Kelsey’s brother dealt with addiction to drugs and alcohol, but Kelsey’s first real experiences of pain didn’t happen until she was in her 30’s, after she had kids and when her husband passed away.
  • Her first real teacher was her grandfather. He taught Kelsey that she had everything she needed inside of her to heal and be who she wanted. Kelsey says she married her husband because he was so similar to her grandfather.
  • We are given a vehicle and must decide how to drive it. Kelsey’s husband Nate used his football career to get people to pay attention, and then used it to have real conversations with them.
  • Two years before Nate died, Kelsey started to feel that something was off. She could tell that he wasn’t the same and something was wrong. Kelsey later went on a spiritual retreat to Jamaica and on the last day she got the call that brought her to her knees.
  • On the flight home, Kelsey made the decision to be there for her kids and do what she needed to do to be present. Now meditation is the most important part of her routine. She still gets anxious and fearful, but she fights to be alright everyday.
  • You have to do it until it stops feeling weird. Yoga and meditation can be challenging when you begin but if you keep at it, eventually it becomes easier.
  • Kelsey’s lowest point happened around a year after her husband died. After all the logistics were finalized, there was just the hole that was left. The nights with the kids were the worst. She was not prepared for their pain and it took two years for Kelsey to figure out how to support them, which for them was sitting next to them without saying a word.
  • At the beginning of Kelsey and Nate’s relationship, his brother was 13 years sober, and they committed to sitting with the awful. After Nate died, this became about embracing the grief and feeling the emotions until they passed. Kelsey allowed herself to feel the tsunamis of grief as they came so she could move on.
  • Kelsey has always loved to write and be on stage. The experience of losing her husband gave Kelsey the opportunity to write about something truly meaningful, and the book she wrote after Nate died was born out of the journals she wrote afterward.
  • Compared to the pain of the last four years, Kelsey feels like she’s on drugs, metaphorically speaking. The joy outweighs the pain now and life feels more bright. It wasn’t until recently that she could see the beauty of it all.
  • The power of journaling is that it gives you the ability to get things that are eating you up out of you.
  • Writing things down is the great gift of handing something over to something bigger than you. One benefit of journaling is you see your growth over time and when hard things happen, you get the mindset of having dealt with hard things before.
  • We’ve all been through hard times, and they need to be honored just like the good times.
  • There is a difference between meditating, yoga, and having a meditation practice, which is something that Kelsey realized only recently. When doing anything public like a podcast, Kelsey used to get herself fired up but now she tones things down so she can settle herself.
  • Her morning routine starts with a meditation from Sam Harris. If you’re just getting started with meditation, start with something in your ear. It could be either music or someone speaking but it will help you. After a while, you can get to sitting in silence. That's great.
  • For Kelsey, emotion needs motion, so she moves her body a lot through walking and yoga. Yoga has helped her process a lot of the emotion and pain that came from the last four years.
  • Kelsey is proud of making it through everything. When life is simple and easy, you don’t think you can handle the hard times. Kelsey was tested, and she and her kids made it through.
  • We don’t have a lot of choice about what happens to us, but we have a huge choice on how we deal with what happens and how we define it, and a lot of that comes from the language we use. Kelsey decided to change the story she was telling herself about her life and reframe it.
  • What you speak becomes your truth, and your truth becomes your reality.
  • You can go back and change one thing in your life without changing everything. She doesn’t want her son to play football, but she wouldn’t go back and change the fact that her husband did play because then she wouldn’t have had the life she did have with him.
  • If you’re struggling right now, find a community and people who will hold you accountable who are also joyful and will keep you moving. Do one thing better each day and find support. Time heals but how you get there is up to you.
  • Kelsey’s comeback story goes out to everyone in her town, who showed up in ways that are hard to describe after Nate’s passing, as well her friends and family who carried that pain with her.

Kelsey Chittick

Writer, comedian and inspirational speaker.

Kelsey Chittick was in a great place. Her husband, the love of her life since college at the University of North Carolina, had finished a grueling six years in the NFL and had successfully transitioned into a new, fulfilling career in finance. They lived in a charming town in California with their children Jack and Addison, and everyone was flourishing.

Then one day, tragedy struck. On 11/11/17, her husband Nate—a huge, happy, intense, and passionate man—dropped dead at 42 in front of their kids. Kelsey’s biggest fear had come true, and she had to decide how to move forward.