Five years ago today

Dear Nick,

5 years ago today, everything changed.

5 years ago today, my world shattered into a million little pieces.

5 years ago today our daughter lost her father.

5 years ago I lost my husband, my best friend, my advisor, my motivator, my life coach, my everything!

In the time that followed your passing, I never thought I could be truly happy again, that I would ever love again, that I would ever be ‘me’ again.

And I was ok with that.

I had such a beautiful, fulfilling life with you, that I thought I’d filled up my love quota. That the love tank was now on empty, having used it up in the 10 years we were together, and I felt truly lucky that we had experienced that. That you chose me to live your short life with.

5 years ago today
Nick

But, what happened next, no one could have predicted. As I’ve always said, I’m so sure you had a hand in it.

because….

In the 5 years since you’ve been gone I got married again to my high school boyfriend and had a baby girl.

In the 5 years since you’ve been gone I’ve found love again, the type to rival any fairytale.

In the 5 years since you’ve been gone I found myself.

In the 5 years since you’ve been gone, I can say life is really good, I have all I need and more.

I still miss you like crazy, I still walk around the house talking to you, I still talk about you Every. Single. Day. You are more apart of our life than most people would believe.

I hope you see how amazing your parents are with the kids. How much the baby adores your Dad, how lucky we are to have them in our life. How accepting your parents have been, how they treat my husband as their own and call him their son in law.

How much closer I’ve become to all of your family and mine in the 5 years since you’ve been gone.

I still have your surname, I feel like it’s my last connection to you. It’s something you gave me, something we shared. I haven’t bought myself to change it yet. My husband is the most understanding, caring guy there is, it has never bothered him that I didn’t take his name when we married. He gets it. I will eventually change it, but I’m in no hurry, I may even keep it and hypen it instead. The options are there!

I wish I could see you, have a real heart to heart, or even just sit in silence with you. What I would give to know what you are thinking now, you always had an opinion on everything!

I wish you could see our baby girl, no longer a baby, but an intelligent, beautiful, thoughtful young girl. Who loves with all her heart. She just lost her first tooth the other week, and I got a little teary, just realising how fast she’s growing and how much you’ve missed out on her.

But I know you see her, I know you walk beside her everyday. How proud you are of her.

So, on this the 5 year anniversary of your death, I’ll light a candle and go through our photo albums, remembering all the good times, the birthdays, the trips, the family functions, the work events, our wedding and of course, the birth of our daughter.

I’ll shed a tear but ultimately i’m just happy we had those years and times together. That I have something so wonderful to look back on, a life with someone as inspirational as you. Who left such a legacy and lasting impression, it makes it hard for me to be mad at you for leaving us, when you left behind so much to be grateful for.

So, Nick I will forever love you and call you my husband (makes for some strange looks when I say that!) We will never forget you, whether it be 5, 10 or 50 years on. I am the person I am today because of you and I am forever in your debt for the gift of life and love you have shown me.

Forever your wife, Michela xxx

To anyone reading this, sorry for my leave of absence, please let me know if you’d like a life update since my last post so long ago!

I still get so many people reading along, though I haven’t written a word in over a year. I get beautiful and some heart breaking emails every week from widows and people all over the world sharing their stories of loss and love with me. It fills me with such light to know Nick’s story has helped so many in their time of need. That when they search for ‘young widow’, or ‘widow story’ or even ‘help, my husband has cancer’ they find my blog and know they’re not alone.

If you want a refresher or to start reading along, you can begin reading from here or if you want to read what happened 5 years ago today, you can find it here now i’m off to paint my nails in memory of Nick, i’m thinking a bright red would be fitting!

til next time xx

 

 

 

 

Goodbye for now, but first an update.

Hello again to everyone still reading along and welcome back after my 3 week writing hiatus.

It’s mostly been due to the fact I have put off writing this, my last post, but now I feel like the time has finally come.

To everyone who has written me or stopped me in the street (or more accurately shopping centers) to ask me to keep writing, I want to especially say thank you for your support and encouraging words.

You told me to keep writing about my current life, my new husband (are we still newlyweds, if we married in January?), my love of nail polish, just anything you say, you just want to keep reading!

I’m so touched that anyone, apart from my family, would want to know anything more about little ol’ me!

I still hold to the fact, that i’m nothing special, i’m just making the most of the cards i’ve been dealt and keeping up with life moving forward, since Nick’s passing in 2011.

But, onto the main reason why i’ve decided to end these posts, for a while anyway.

I’m Pregnant…23 weeks along!

While being pregnant, with child, up the duff, bearing the fruit of our love (does anyone actually use that term?!?) doesn’t make me brain dead, I have decided to focus my energy instead, on becoming a second time mum and enjoying the precious time with my beautiful daughter and husband, before our family expands once more.

(Oh, and freaking out about making room in our house for this precious cargo i’ve got on board. My daughter has accumulated so much stuff in her 5 years!)

But being pregnant is a bittersweet time for me.

Of course, i’m overjoyed to be able to add to our family, and my husband is equally as excited, it marks a new beginning for us, but, it also reminds me of this time 5 years ago and how excited Nick was to become a Dad and how short lived it was for him.

He came to every obstetrician’s appointment, heck, he even researched which obstetrician we would use! He would write down questions to ask her prior to our appointments and check in with me 20 times a day to see how I was feeling. He hated me catching public transport to work and would drive and pick me up most days, he also insisted I finish up work 10 weeks prior to my due date to get some rest and me time. And then while I was home, he would try and come home for lunch during the day, to sit with me and talk to my tummy.

To say he was excited, would be an understatement.

Anyone who knew Nick, would remember how much he couldn’t wait to be a Dad. But, it was also at this time, his symptoms first flared up so, along with the excitement of having our first child, came the concern for his health and the fact that nothing was making him feel well anymore.

Little did we know then, the severity of what was to come, but it was just the beginning of his health issues.

He already had pancreatic cancer eating away at his cells, slowly dwindling down his days left with us.

Goodbye for now, but first an update
Nick with Claudia (2 days old) Look how happy they both are!
and my not so little baby now
and my not so little baby now..

Nick would have continued to be a great Dad, of that I have no doubt. I’m so grateful he was able to have a taste of Fatherhood, before he passed. I think it added to his contentment before he died.

So you can understand how much I have thought of Nick during this time, but here comes the clincher, my baby is actually due on Nick’s birthday, March 16.

I know, it’s incredible, unbelievable even….I couldn’t have planned it if I had tried!

I think it’s just Nick’s way of telling me he is still around and that he will continue to look after us, and this new little one forever more.

When I tell people my due date, i’m usually met with silence, like they can’t quite believe it. Honestly, it took a while for it to sink in with me too, but I find it comforting.

With every scan i’ve had, the date of March 16 has never changed. I’ve told my husband, that we’ll just circle the hospital that day, because knowing Nick, I bet I actually go into labour on March 16, just so we can keep another reminder of him close.

That’s just Nick for you, always in control, that was just his nature. I have no concerns for myself or my baby, during this pregnancy, because I know Nick is here with us, every step of the way.

You could call it a coincidence, but I know better than that, this has Nick written all over it!

And now onto my goodbye.

I can’t thank you all enough for your ongoing support since I began this blog, back in January this year. While it wasn’t first written for public viewing, it quickly took off once it made its debut on Facebook (thanks to Antoinette and a 7am phone call that caught me off guard!) and it hasn’t slowed down since, clocking up over 63,000 views, which is just crazy!!!

And while, it hasn’t garnered me international fame, a telemovie, a book deal, a place on the blogs to read in 2014 list, or even my own sitcom – I pitch “The Polished Widow” as the show to watch in 2017.

I have achieved so much more than any of that.

In sharing my story, I have connected with so many others in similar situations who have written me to say, how hearing from another young widow has helped them stay sane. I have heard from people who just need a positive boost or kick in the pants to realise how good they really have it.

This blog has changed the lives and behaviours of so many, who write me and tell me about their epiphanies while reading along. It has enabled them to be better friends, parents, and just nicer people in general.

While it may not be the cure for World Peace, just knowing I have touched those individuals reading along, warms my heart and makes me want to do a happy dance, even with my little belly now.

I have re-connected with old friends through my writing and also with Nick’s colleagues, who have shared stories of him with me. That without this blog I may never have been in touch with.

I have also made new friends, from all over the world, who have sent me words of encouragement, support and who actually think i’m inspirational!  Who fill their emails with such nice things to say about me, i’m often blushing as I read them, mostly thinking they must be writing about someone else, it’s all so nice and humbling!

And to all those out there, who have said, I have over shared my personal moments with strangers, to that I say, to be able to connect and bring comfort to a young widow across the world through my posts, has made this all worthwhile.

Because I remember what it was like to be a widow with no one in a similar situation, the closest thing I had was my widowed 82 year old grandma!

Nick wanted his story told and I think i’ve done it justice.

Nick will never be forgotten, not just by me, but by so many others. He was an all round good guy, who enjoyed his life up til the end. He changed my life for the better and i’ll be forever grateful that he picked me to spend his short life with.

Nick gave so much of himself to others, he left such a lasting impression on those who knew him, and now through this blog, even strangers he never met.

I do want to give a special thanks to my family and friends (you know who you are!) and most importantly to my husband John, for his continued support in me writing this blog. He is a true gentleman and i’m so lucky to be able to spend the rest of my life with him. Just don’t die on me, I don’t want to start The Polished Widow – part 2! (sorry for the widow humour!)

So, that’s it for now, I can’t say thank you enough. I won’t say this is the last post forever, if the urge strikes, I will write again and of course, there may just be a baby update come March 2015!

Thank you again,

Michela xxx

If for some reason you have just cottoned on to my blog, you may want to start at the beginning here and read your way through, for all this to make any sense!

The impression you leave behind

Hello again and welcome to this week’s post, I know I keep saying this is going to end blah, blah, and it will very soon, but in the meantime, I just keeping having new posts ‘come to me’ and I feel compelled to write just one more, before the end.

Today i’m wanting to focus on the impression you leave behind and obviously that of Nick’s in particular.

I wanted to share something with you all, that just warms me from within and brings a smile to my face, no it’s not the fact the new OPI Christmas polishes are being released, can you ever have too many reds??

It’s that I received a very special email a few weeks ago from a family friend of ours, Rose. She had obviously met Nick, but only few times over the years and had prayed for our families upon hearing of his diagnosis.

Since reading along with this blog and hearing the stories i’ve shared about us, and more importantly highlighting Nick’s strength, it’s made her appreciate life and want to live out her own dreams.

This is an excerpt from her email to me:

…Although I did not know Nick personally very well, his and your story has had a big impact on my life in a really positive way.

Nick had so much to look forward to and yet was caught up in the whirlwind of cancer, while I am still here, still breathing, I realise it’s not right to waste life when it is such a gift with all its ups and downs.

So, it’s been something I have wanted to do for as long as I can remember that the charity Opportunity to Do, would have it’s own chain of Op Shops.

I have leased a shop in Whittlesea and would like to dedicate the shop in memory of Nick. The story of your family represents love, hope and unity in all that life brings…

Well, of course I was thrilled and sent my blessings right away for her to honour Nick in this way. I have sent her photos of Nick to put up in her store, which Rose will include alongside her beautifully written words about his story that she shared with me, ending with:

If you have a dream, go for it. It’s thanks to Nick and his story and journey that the dream to open this fundraising opportunity shop became a reality and is here today.

How beautiful is that?

The impression you leave behind
Us at a work function in 2007

To know that Nick and his story have influenced Rose in such a way, she is now living out one of her dreams.

On a side note, please support Rose and her store, Opportunity To Do, that opens this weekend at 23 Beech Street, Whittlesea, Vic.

You can find her Facebook page here if you want to read more about the organisation and the good work they do.

So, my point is this, what a wonderful impression Nick has left behind.

A life story, that though short, has compelled many to live a more positive life, to appreciate it, even with all the bumps and bruises along the way, to realise how short it can be, to live out your dreams.

Rose’s story is one of many I have heard whilst writing this blog.

Another friend has told me, that they keep a photo of Nick on their fridge since his passing as a daily reminder to be a better partner and parent, first and foremost.

I get regular emails from people who never knew Nick, from halfway around the world, that tell me since reading about Nick’s strength and love for his family, that they look at life differently, they are kinder to their loved ones and don’t sweat the small stuff anymore.

I think, no, I know, Nick would be thrilled hearing these stories, knowing that even in death, he has the ability to leave an impression and impact the lives of others, like he has mine.

Because as i’ve mentioned previously, (you can read about it here if you missed it) I am a changed person since his death, I appreciate everything so much more than I ever did!

Also for those that knew Nick when he was around, would remember he had a huge presence and was never a wallflower kind of guy. You always knew when Nick entered the room. (Of course, in his gym days, it was probably just because he had to walk sideways, just to get his arms through, am I right?)

Knowing this little blog has effected so many people, also leads me to believe this was just another part of ‘what had to happen’ following his passing.

That Nick’s story with all it’s determination, strength and love needed to be shared, so his life can continue to matter and make a difference.

But, you don’t have to be six feet under or have gone through some traumatic life event to leave an impression.

If you are kind and positive, if you don’t dwell on what can’t be changed, if you live a life filled with love, instead of adopting a ‘woe is me’ or a ‘what is wrong with me?’ mentality, then you will always leave your mark on others and believe it or not, it’s not that hard to do!

Before I go, I want to add one last thing,

I spent time with some of Nick’s work colleagues the other day, though they were more friends than anything else. We spoke at length about Nick, while my husband sat with us, I think they were amazed at how positive I still am and how wonderfully supportive my husband John is, listening as we swapped stories of Nick. Thank you John for being a real man, who’s not threatened by our situation. #loveyou  #husband  #insidejoke

So, til next time, which will probably, most likely, maybe not, be my last post….

Michela xx

Thanks for reading along, please write me if you have wanted to change your behaviour/attitude since reading along, or tell me about the impact and impression Nick may have left on you since his passing!

Are they ever really gone?

Welcome back to another post, I was going to title this, “I see dead people’ but opted against it for the less offensive ‘Are they ever really gone?’

As you read along you’ll see what I mean.

Nick has been gone now for 3 years and 10 months, but that’s not to say I haven’t seen him since that time.  I’ll explain further before you start to think i’m some crazy widowed lady with 6 cats and too much time on my hands.

I have over the years seen what i’ll call ‘flashes’ of him. Always at pivotal times since he passed and it has always been a comfort, rather than something scary.

I can never say when he’ll ‘pop’ up, but I can hand on my heart, 100% say, it’s him and not my mind playing tricks on me.

It has become less frequent as time has rolled on, and I know that it’s just his way of checking in and letting me know he is still here for us.

That he does hear our daughter, when she wishes him a goodnight and that he is around when we talk about him and I fill John in on the type of guy he was and the times we had.

I should also mention it’s always when i’m at home and mostly when i’ve been alone.

Mum tells me that I had these type of ‘flashes’ growing up, that I told her I saw my great granddad and described him in detail, though we’d never met when I was about 6 or 7.

And one of my most vivid moments was about 11 years ago, I saw my old childhood dog, who had died years earlier, walk right past my feet at my mum’s place. I calmly told my mum that i’d just seen Socks (he had white paws, get it?) wondering down the hallway, she believed me and didn’t make a big deal out of it.

Next morning, we discovered our beloved blue heeler, Bluey (yes, again we were really bad at  pet names!) had passed away. I’ve always felt that Socks came to get him or maybe it was his way of telling me what was to come the next day, who knows?

I’ve never thought I had some kind of ‘gift’, I still don’t, but I do know Nick and I always had a strong connection from the moment we met, and I think that has continued, even though he is not physically with me anymore.

After he passed, I could always ‘sense’ when he was here, a feeling I would have, and then it would pass and I’d know he was gone. I’d talk to him, say, ‘here again, checking up on us, are you?’ and ‘we’re all good, don’t worry, i’ve got this’.

When my nail polish obsession started to grow, now standing at over 250 in my collection, I would be painting my nails and swear I could hear his disapproval over my shoulder and i’d just laugh and say, ‘you can’t do anything about this now’. You can read about his hate of me wearing nail polish here.

Our daughter would often tell me she ‘saw’ Daddy or he had played with her before bed. And I always believed her, she had no reason to lie. She was only a year old when he died and often i’d find her in her cot laughing away, staring at something, like she was interacting with thin air.

They say children are innocent and have that connection with those that have passed away. She doesn’t talk about seeing him anymore, but she’s nearly 5, so maybe her window has closed.

Or not…last year, my birthday also fell on Father’s Day, lucky me, so I decided to have the family over for dinner. While I was cooking away in the kitchen, I felt his presence and looked up to see Nick standing with a smile on his face at the side door, only a metre or so away from me. As quickly as I saw him, (looking well, I might add!) he was gone. I smiled and continued chopping away.

Our daughter, Claudia  had her back to me, watching TV at the time. I started to talk to her and reminded her that it was Father’s Day today and asked if she’d wished her Dad a ‘Happy Father’s Day’ yet? She often says things out loud to him.

She groaned at having to turn away from her favourite show to face me and said, ‘ok, mum, i’ll do it now’. She jumped off the couch and walked straight over to where i’d just seen Nick, ‘Happy Father’s Day, Dad’ she said to the screen door and then went and plopped herself back on the couch.

Unbelievable!

She had no way of knowing i’d just seen him there, but she must have known somehow that he had been or was still was.

That he had been watching over us, popping in to wish me a happy birthday and to see his little girl on Father’s Day.

I’ve spoken before about the time he visited my nephew to help him sleep in his own big bed, you can catch up on that here. Again, I have no reason to dispute this, these are moments too surreal to pick apart.

And if you knew Nick, you’d know what a control freak he was, always trying to keep a handle on everything.

And then there are the feathers, funny how I never found one in the  house prior to his passing. I’ve had people tell me they must blow in with the wind when we open the door, but really, do you have white feathers popping up all over the place ??

White feathers, carefully placed, where i’ll see them. Again, just a reminder, that he’s watching over us. I have collected them over the years and again, we don’t see as many now, the last was on my wedding day this January, but he knows we’re well and happy once more, so maybe that’s why.

For the record, John has also found these feathers around, and believes in my ‘flashes’ of Nick.

Are they ever really gone?
Photo of Nick and Claudia, and a feather to the left, that we found after she’d seen him the day before.

I’ve even had a call from a close friend of ours who also discovered perfect white feathers in their home, after discussing a huge life change, one they had often talked about with Nick. Like it was his way of weighing in on their decision, we again had to laugh at this, it’s typical Nick!

Once he passed, in those first few months, many of friends would start their conversations with, ‘I don’t know if you believe this but….’ and would tell me something that had happened, that they thought was a ‘sign’ from Nick.

I’d tell them if they thought it was Nick, then it probably was, and would share something that happened to me to make them feel a bit better about what they’d experienced.

So, they didn’t question it so much, and think they were imagining things. We often try and make sense of it, talk ourselves out of believing it could be anything but something logical.

I could go on and on about all the times and ‘things’ that have happened, but I think you get the picture so far.

So, are they ever really gone? I’d love to hear your own stories. I’d love for you to try and dispute mine, but I know what ive seen and felt over the years.

If this hadn’t happened to me, would I be a skeptic about it too? Are some people more open to these experiences than others? Is it just my own spiritual connection with Nick that has allowed me these little insights?

I don’t believe that when you die, that’s it. I think there must be an afterlife or something, or that your spirit can still live on, i’m still not sure.

I’m sure many of you reading along, will be rolling your eyes at this point!

I know that those that have passed are never really gone because they live on through our memories and stories of them. I know whenever I look into my daughter’s eyes, I see Nick and i’m reminded that she was the final, special gift he gave me.

So, even if you  don’t ‘see’ or ‘sense’ your loved ones that have passed, know that you carry them with you in your heart always, and I truly believe they are looking down and aware of all that continues on in our lives.

Maybe even pausing to read the tributes you write to them on Facebook or other social media sites come their anniversaries!

Til next time, Michela xx

Thanks again for reading along, and I know I keep saying i’m winding down soon, but this is really one of the last few, thanks for staying with me so long and allowing me the space to share my stories.

Feel free to continue to share the love and comment, email me and share your own stories of post loss, if you’ve had a similar situation happen!