Linda Nolan, who returns to the Opera House tonight, has told of her nightmare since the death of her husband as well as her own brave battle against illness.
Linda's husband Brian Hudson died last September at 60 after losing a battle with cancer. The couple had been married for 25 years and had just celebrated their silver anniversary.
Since his passing Linda (49), who beat breast cancer, has been ill again with a serious skin infection from which she is also now recovered and set to return to the stage.
She told the Belfast Telegraph: "Life without Brian is a nightmare. He was my soulmate and I miss him terribly. I am making a stage comeback at the Opera House in the Mrs Johnstone role in Blood Brothers — if it was any other production I mightn't bother, but this is such a worthy show that it is a kind of helpful to me to be in it even though it is so intense. I lose a little of myself every time I go on stage. It is a definitely a tough role to play, but so worthwhile.
"In everyday life though, I just keep plodding along. After Brian my mother Maureen died at 81 in December so surely nothing else can go wrong. I wouldn't wish what has happened to me on anyone else. However, the Nolans are a great family and rally round and my two step-children Lloyd and Sarah give me tremendous support.
"I could have given up when Brian died, but after taking a long break I decided it was time to get back to work and I went into the West End for a few weeks to see if I was up to it.
"The West End was a success and I was getting ready to go touring with Blood Brothers when I got this skin infection in my arm and had to go into hospital for four weeks. Now I'm getting back to health and strength and looking forward to returning to the Opera House. You know, that is where I did my first solo show in 1983 for the late Jim Aiken as support to Gene Pitney.
"And it was while I was in panto at the Opera House in 2006 that I went to hospital and discovered I had breast cancer."
Linda's only disappointment about her trip back to Belfast where she will be performing in Blood Brothers for two weeks, is that Hudson her eight year-old pet Bichon Frise — named after her husband — isn't coming too.
"Usually he's with me in the dressing room, but he was really Brian's pet and he grieved so much for him that he got ill too. Even though he's recovered I'm leaving him in Blackpool with a friend."