Happy Birthday Nick!

Its your birthday, we’re gonna party like its your birthday

Hi again and welcome back, for those of you who have just stumbled across my blog, you can catch up on it all by starting here and for those who’ve been with me since the beginning, thank you and look, i’ve (kind of) stayed true to to my word and kept writing!!

Today is Nick’s birthday, he would have turned 39. I’m sure with it would have come the usual ribbing of ‘you’re getting old’ to what should we do for your birthday next year, tossing up between a huge bash or an overseas trip.

It’s still feels so strange to me that i’m now older than he was when he passed away aged 32. He was always so mature and felt years older than me. When you die do you stay the same or do you continue to age? I’m going to say being forever 32, wouldn’t be so bad. Guess we’ll never know, but to me, he’ll always be older and far more worldly than I could ever be, even if I live another 50 years.

In honour of his birthday, we’ll light a candle (one my daughter made especially for Daddy Nick), blow out a candle on a cupcake and i’ll pull out some old photos and then just like that, it’s another year gone.

As with every birthday or occasion, I choose to instead spend it remembering Nick and all the good times and hearts he touched during his time with us. I don’t ever go down the ‘if he was still here…’ path because that will lead nowhere. And as i’ve mentioned before, you can read about it here, I do believe he spends some of his time still dropping in to see us. I mean what else is there to do, right ?

Like for example, earlier this week, my daughter, Claudia walked into my bedroom, it was after 7:30am and the sun was streaming through my blinds filling the bedroom with light. We had a quick chat and she walked into my ensuite, on her way back to me she casually asked, ‘who was that man at the end of your bed?’

I’ll let that sink in for you for a sec……

‘What man?’

I hadn’t seen or sensed anyone in our room. Claudia is also 7 and not the type of kid who makes up stories or has a crazy imagination. She was so cool about it too, she said ‘he’s gone now, but he was just standing there.’

Of course, I asked who she thought it was, she couldn’t be sure, she said he had a kind of shadow around him. She wasn’t freaked out or scared, just curious as to who it was.

Well, so was I, but the more I thought about it, the more sense it made, that it was Nick on his birthday week, just dropping in to see his girl and how quickly she’s grown. I’ve asked her a few times about it since and the story is always the same, she does have a history of seeing her Dad over the years, so this might just be another sighting.

In another moment, I do find when I sit down to write, I have a feeling like i’m being watched, sounds much creepier than it is and I swear it’s not my neighbour.  But it’s just like someone is reading over my shoulder, but from a distance, yeah crazy I know, but try telling that to Nick who’s probably reading along as I write this, willing me to include some funny anecdote about him. But, I won’t, like i’ve always said, he wasn’t that funny!

March 16 will always be a date I remember, and not just because it was my youngest daughters due date, again something I think Nick wanted, though she came two weeks earlier, but more because it will always be Nick’s day. I’ve received so many messages and calls today remembering him, and I always prefer this date to the day he died, because this was the day he was bought into the world, not the day he left it.

On this day 39 years ago, he was born, healthy and thriving. His birth bought joy and happiness to his family, on the 5th February, he left a shadow of his former self, unrecognisable to the man he once was and the way I remember him being, so strong and confident.

So this is why I choose to write on this day and remember Nick for the kind, thoughtful, loving, sometimes arrogant and occasional stubborn guy he was. And I thank him for choosing me to live his short life with and I thank him for bringing me my husband to continue my journey with, (because we all know he had a hand in that too). I also thank him for showing me what love and life was and also with his passing, for giving me a life perspective that I never had before. To know that life is short and we need to live each day as honestly and full as we can. To love wholeheartedly, for we never know what our future holds and to be true to ourselves always.

Oh and Nick if you’re reading this, Happy Birthday, we love you always and I look forward to your next drop in, whenever that may be!

Til next time, Michela xx

P.S You can also follow me on Instagram now by searching the_polished_widow where i’m posting bits and pieces along the way!

 

 

They said what ??

Welcome back to my next post of 2017, see I kinda promised to keep it going and here we are.

If you missed my post from the other week, you can click on it here.

But, now onto this weeks thoughts…

Firstly, if it wasn’t hard enough losing my husband at 30, worse still, was that I apparently did not receive my copy of the ‘how to grieve and move on after loss, in order to not offend or disturb anyone else’s life‘ handbook.

I mean really, that could have saved so many other people their sleepless nights, worrying about what I was doing, right?

Apparently how I dealt with Nick’s passing, had such an impact on how others treated me and definitely what they thought of me. I’ve written numerous times about how I felt I didn’t grieve properly, based on societies expectations.

I didn’t have a breakdown, I didn’t cry for days on end, I didn’t wear black, I returned to work fairly quickly and worse still I remarried. Oh the horror!

And because of all these things and many more, you can catch up on some of what i’ve already written by clicking here and  here for my funeral posts, I found myself constantly being watched for when they all assumed, the final straw would break me and it would make everyone else feel better to finally see the young widow inconsolable.

That was all in the early days post Nick’s passing but truth be told, I still faced judgement over my life decisions long past it.

When my now husband and I started dating, I constantly heard that it was ‘too soon’, ‘it wasn’t appropriate yet’, and ‘that I should wait a while before I told anyone’.

But what is the rule on how long before exploring a new relationship, because again, I didn’t get the handbook???

I have no idea why it impacted anyone else, I was still mourning the loss of my husband, I felt ‘relationship guilt’ for seeing someone else, who by the way, was very respectful of my situation, and I was also beginning to find my new normal and that was all ok with me.

Luckily for me, my own family and even Nick’s were very supportive, and this made things a lot smoother.

But once ‘friends’ found out, they suddenly distanced themselves from me. Apparently, ‘they couldn’t see me with anyone else’, ‘it didn’t feel right to them‘, ‘they were sure, Nick wouldn’t be happy’, and ‘they would never do what I was doing.’ All of these things were nonsense and those that knew Nick, knew he wanted me to be happy.

And my favourite comment, ‘Nick would be turning in his grave if he knew’, what a crappy thing to say to a widow!! And what does it even mean?!? I’ve also heard, ‘he’d be doing cartwheels’, let me assure you, he wasn’t that agile. I’d like to think he’d be giving himself a high 5 instead, over how great it’s all worked out.

All of these comments and judgement were never helpful, it just made me question my friendships and what I was doing, even though I knew it wasn’t wrong. And yes, these things were said to my face, not behind closed doors.

Hard to imagine, right?

And because of this, most of those friends never took the time to get to know my now husband, choosing instead to just fade from our lives with their own small minded opinions about us, including that I must have never loved Nick because I have now replaced him?!?

Oh yeah, that must be why I still have his photos up and write this blog talking about him.

I’ve had widows write me to say they found their next love within months of their partner’s passing, and another widow who writes me often, who suggests within 12 months most of his widowed friends had new partners but then I know another widow who has hidden her boyfriend for years to please her strict family.

What people need to understand is there is no time limit and for the most part, the widow is probably already questioning themselves enough, without the added interference of those around them.

Isn’t it wonderful that people who have gone through such a loss, can have a second chance at love again. Isn’t that worth being supportive. You may not understand the situation, but while you sit on the couch next to your partner watching The Real Housewives of wherever, maybe spare a thought for the friend of yours, widowed or even just single, sitting home wondering if they’ll be alone forever.

But ultimately, I choose to forgive the stupid comments and move forward with my life at my own pace, like Mother Teresa said, ‘if we really want to love, we must learn how to forgive’.

You don’t need to be a widow or have a friend go through this type of loss, the message is simple, keep your judgement to yourself. Most of what you say, will get back to whoever you’re talking about, and it will be hurtful. And like the old saying goes, ‘if you don’t have anything nice to say….’ well, you get the point.

Thanks for reading along and allowing me to brain dump my thoughts into something legible again.

And I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, so write me and let me know.

Til next time, Michela xx

 

My girls

6 years on..

My girls

Its been another year, now 6 years since Nick passed away, aged 32 from pancreatic cancer.

If you haven’t read my last post, you can find it here, I wrote it a year ago and if you don’t know who I am or what I’m talking (writing?!) about you can start by reading this.

But here I sit 6 years on since Nick’s passing and I’m ok, actually I’m more than ok. I’m sitting on my couch, with the TV on in the background, as I watch my two girls play with my husband,  and even though my youngest is sick and is sneezing snot across the room, like literally!

Life is actually great.

Yet, 6 year ago, as I sat in this exact room, life looked a lot more grim. I’d just lost my husband to cancer, a word I’d barely thought of 8 months earlier and in what felt like the blink of an eye, my world changed.

From happily married with a newborn to 30 year widow and single mum.

How did that happen to me?!?

As optimistic and positive as we had been during his illness, this was the great unknown. The other side of Nick being sick.

What happens now?

I wish I could travel back in time 6 years, to have a chat with myself and say it’s going to be ok and better than you could imagine.

In 6 years, I have married again to a man I adore and have 2 beautiful girls, our youngest is turning two next month.

In 6 years I’ve lost friends and gained new ones, I’ve gone back to work and left again. I’ve gotten used to making school lunches and doing the school run. I’ve purchased more OPI nail polishes than I care to admit and I’ve realised how lucky my kids are to have three lots of grandparents who love them so deeply.

And I’ve learnt more about myself and my coping mechanisms than I thought possible.

For the record, I’m a ‘make inappropriate jokes when times a tough’ type of gal and I can’t cry on cue when it’s expected ie.funerals.

So, you might not be able to see into your future or time travel, but it will always be ok, maybe a different version of your normal but that will be ok too.

I was given a quote by the author Charles R. Swindoll in the time following Nick’s death that really spoke to me and I try and live by daily;

‘We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, our attitude. Life is 10% what happens and 90% how you react to it.’

And you don’t have to have lost a partner to relate to this, but just ultimately how you react to any situation thrown at you, whether the loss of a loved one or even being cut off in traffic, is what will change the course of your life or even just your day.

Staying positive is key.

I still get emails from widows all over the world asking me if they’re going to be ok again, or telling me how my little ol’blog helped them see into their own futures again.

I am forever humbled reading these emails, thank you for taking the time to write and if you have any questions, you can email me below and i’ll be sure to reply as best I can.

Even if it’s been a year since I wrote, this blog just seems to gain momentum and I feel like i’m being pulled back to my laptop to write.

This week also marks a year since my last post, (wow, where did 2016 go?!?) so I’ll give you a thinly veiled promise to continue writing. I have ideas that keep me up at night. Paragraphs that form in my mind as I try to fall asleep, so I think you might see me pop up again very soon.

Or subscribe, if you’d like an email reminder when I write next.

I think a piece about not being judge-y, (yes, i know that’s not a real word), should be coming shortly.

Til next time, Michela x

 

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