All posts by The Polished Widow

About The Polished Widow

A look into my time as a young widow

Nick in healthier times

Are you over it yet?

Hi again, I hope everyone is having a good week so far and to those of you who have stumbled across my blog, hi, you might want to read a little about me here or at the beginning of my story here.

Today i’ve decided to write a little about my experience with how people react post my loss and the question i’m often asked, ‘are you over it yet?’ Yep, people are actually that direct.

I’ve written previously about how difficult it was immediately after the loss and also a bit about moving forward, which you can read here but this takes a different turn again, about how people react 6 years later.

Because things change from sympathy (i’m so sorry, are you ok?) to now 6 years later I get (really? but you married again, so you’re good) No lie, i’ve actually been told this!! Like apparently it just erases the pain and memories, like some magic pill.

And yes, don’t get me wrong, I am great, I am married again to an amazing guy, who didn’t bat an eyelid at me being a widow with a kid, he has been a constant stream of support and love. It did help that we dated as teens, so he was no stranger to me or my family, but still, he took on more than most men would. And he has never once asked me to stop writing about Nick or my time as a widow, in fact he has come to me with suggestions for posts.

He is very secure in our marriage and my love for him.

But back to my point of this post and this blog in general because when I first started writing over 3 years ago (yes, it’s been that long!!!) I was constantly told, I must be doing this for the therapy, to get things off my chest.

(Because I definitely wasn’t writing for all the free PR stuff you see bloggers getting, though OPI if you’re reading this, i’d love the Fiji or the new California Dreaming  Collection, thanks!)
In reality, I felt an urge to write about what had happened to us, Nick encouraged it before he passed. I did originally think it would only ever be for my daughters to read one day, but off it took on Facebook one day when a friend posted it, and the rest is well, you know, history.

I didn’t particularly feel like I was being freed of any feelings, but I did re-discover my love of writing and yes, there were days I cried while writing remembering all the times and Nick, but I was always happy to do it.

Then came the beautiful messages, as it took off around the world from other young widows, feeling like they weren’t alone. And not just widows, but anyone who had been through a loss or hard time, who were reading along and writing me such beautiful emails.

By sharing my time and feelings, like my widow humour and my life since, it gave them hope, that they too could get through this and live their next chapters. And also the emails from people who’d not suffered a loss but how reading along made them appreciate their own lives even more. Kind of like, ‘well, my husband does piss me off, but I love him and he’s still here, so guess I should appreciate that’.

These letters alone are enough validation for me to keep writing, and believe me there are so many. But, please keep writing me though, I love hearing from you!

But, i’m always asked, ‘so now that you’ve written your story, are you going to keep writing, like, what else can you say?’ or ‘you’ve written about Nick enough now, don’t you want to get on with your life?’, and my favourite, ‘are you over it yet?’

I get this, I really do, but writing these posts, does not mean I’m living in the past or that I don’t appreciate my future, I seriously look forward to growing old(er) with my husband and in all honestly, I have so much more I want to write (maybe even a book one day, like you all keep suggesting!)

It’s as though I’m really being asked, ‘aren’t you over your loss yet, it was 6 years ago?’ and the quick answer is no, i’ll never be completely over losing Nick, while I have this amazing new life, it doesn’t replace my previous one.

Would you ever forget a grandparent who passed away? Just never mention them again and act they never existed, well of course not, then why should I do the same? Nick was and is a huge part of my life, he shaped me into the person I am today. I refuse to stop mentioning him because it might make other people uncomfortable and trust me it does. I see how people don’t know what to say once I mention him, even something as simple as ‘oh yeah, Nick and I went there once…’ becomes a conversation killer, they don’t know where to go from there, they change the topic real quick!

But honestly for me it’s fine, just keep talking, I won’t break down in tears, unless we’re talking about my 2 year old not wanting to sleep at night, because that’s painful.

When my loss first occurred everyone was walking on eggshells around me, not sure what to do or say, 6 years later, I find that the sensitivity of losing my first husband has almost completely gone, and that’s fine, I get it. Time has healed the shock of losing Nick, and though he’s left a void, people have moved forward and worked around it. Like knowing someone with a massive wart on their nose, you know it’s there, you just don’t mention it all the time.

I guess in that analogy i’m the wart or am I the nose, umm ok then, moving right on…

Recently I was told I was too young to understand life, by someone much older than me, I was offended and replied that i’d lost my husband to cancer when I was just 30, I waited for the penny to drop for her, like she’d agree I’d already been through so much, but instead she replied, ‘yeah, but you were young, wait til you get to my age, then you’ll know life.’

I took a moment to check myself, was I being too cocky about this life and death business, I did feel as though she washed over the fact i’d already been deeply touched by it, but that by no means makes me an expert in life, right?

But she had reacted as though, because I’d been widowed young and re-married, that it didn’t matter and unfortunately i’ve had this reaction so many times before, I shouldn’t let it bother me.

I’ve also had people tell me we weren’t married long enough for it to impact me enough, because I still have so much of my life left to live. I understand that, but i’ve also been through something so heartbreaking, so i’d say I know a little about life and perspective and Nick and his illness unfortunately taught me that and of course, I have a heap more to experience as I continue on in my life without him.

But, i’ve rambled long enough again, so I’ll end with some advice, never ask someone who’s grieving or been through a loss, whether it’s been 6 days, 6 months or even 6 years if they’re over it, because chances are, like me, they’ll always have a piece of their hearts missing. Like my Instagram post (@the_polished_widow) says, ‘You are near, even if I don’t see you. You are with me, even if you’re far away. You are in my thoughts, in my heart, in my life. Always.’

Til next time, Michela xx

p.s if there’s something you’d like to ask me or you’ve had a similar experience, i’d love to hear from you,  just write to me via the form below!

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..

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