The circus has come to town – part 2

A second post in a week, which isn’t my normal habit, but I felt compelled to write this week’s first post, after watching the previous week’s episode of Offspring, which was a slight side step about the joys of widowhood. (read: sarcasm)

On that note, thank you to everyone who sent me messages on Wednesday night after Offspring ended, I think seeing what Nina has experienced on the show, has reminded friends of how hard it was for me, losing Nick.

Even though I held it together, I said the same things Nina did, ‘I don’t know how to live. I don’t know how to hold onto him… I don’t know how to live without him.’

And yes, I cried for the last 5 minutes of the show when she let Patrick go, using many of the same lines I did, when I said my goodbye to Nick, you can read it again here.

Enough about Offspring, now onto my real life course of events.

The circus has come to town - part 2
New York in 08

So, i’ve decided to pick up today where I left last week with – the circus has come to town – part 2, because the day was long and there was so much more that took place.

I left you with the laughable shower scene, which i’m hoping you did laugh along with. After finishing my shower, I obviously got dressed and went to join the rest of the family that had gathered. I watched as everyone turned to look at me, as I approached my kitchen area.

I was getting used to these stares already, waiting to see me crack….but no, this time I was wrong…

You see, I had put on a pink top. Yep, you read right, pink. Being of European background and the fact my husband had just died approx. 6 hours earlier, it was ‘apparently’ a sign of disrespect.

Now, I don’t buy into all these traditions and Nick absolutely didn’t. Me wearing colour was not a sign that I loved him any less, and it also wouldn’t miraculously help him rise from the dead.

We had laughed about it before he died. He hated me in black in general, he teased my mum constantly for wearing black, asking if she had a funeral to attend. He specifically told me not to wear black when he died! I was kinda scared he’d come back to haunt me if I did. (just joking!)

My grandma was the one who started on me, but in hindsight I can’t be mad because it’s what she believes in, and having lost her husband 6 months earlier, and now me, joining the same widow club, she felt it was her duty to tell me.

She started, ‘what would people think, it was disrespectful, you’ll look like you’re not in mourning, it’s wrong…blah,blah,blah.’

I fought with her for a while on it, trying to explain in my 1/2 english, 1/2 italian way of speaking to her, that it was my choice and I didn’t care what people thought and it’s what Nick wanted.

Obviously all falling on deaf ears, I felt like a child being scolded. She kept trying to push me towards my bedroom to change. In the end I did, because I couldn’t be bothered hearing it anymore.

But, once there, I quickly realised I had no black tops, not even a t-shirt, so I settled on navy instead, that was ‘approved’ by her.

Can anyone relate to this ??

The other part of having a partner die is that you need to get started on funeral arrangements. I wasn’t prepared for this!

Nick’s parents gave me the number of the funeral directors they wanted to use, so I made the call and waited.

A middle aged Greek guy arrived and got straight to business. I asked all relatives to give us some privacy, as I sat down with Nick’s parents to discuss the once unimaginable, burying Nick.

He went through it all so quickly, like we were holding him up from the next dead person. Flicking through the pages of his folder at lightning speed, caskets, flowers, rosary, burial, service.

Peppering his dialogue with enough Greek, that I could barely understand what he was saying. He spoke mostly to Nick’s parents.

I tried my best to get across what Nick would have wanted.

Nick had wanted someone to do a Eulogy, but in a Greek Orthodox church, this was something they would never make an exception for.

In the end, I resigned myself to the fact that it was only one day and it didn’t matter if it all didn’t go the way I thought he’d want.

It was only one day and I had 10 years of memories of Nick instead. He’d forgive me if this turned into a circus.

Again, I didn’t want to argue with anyone, especially Nick’s parents, who were already distraught and sensitive.

They needed my support and it wasn’t the time to shout, ‘he was my husband, I think I know what he wanted’, though some people may disagree with this.

I was respectful of Nick’s parents, and although I was hurting, they too had just lost their son and we were in this together.

The circus has come to town - part 2
Nick and his mum, always so close

To me, keeping quiet was also because I didn’t know much about the Greek Orthodox religion. Nick himself was not religious, but I knew his parents were, so I let them decide on the finer details.

In the back of my mind, I knew I’d continue with his birthday party celebrations as he wanted. That would be my chance to send him off, surrounded by loved ones, talking about their memories of him. (I’ve written about that in an earlier post here if you missed it.)

The funeral director asked us to get some clothes together for Nick, I went to our room and decided on his favourite jeans and jackets, that he had loved from his ‘skinny’ days.

His mum told me we couldn’t bury him in jeans, it had to be a suit. I hadn’t seen the email stating he wouldn’t get into heaven without one, but again, choosing my battles, I pulled out the suit we’d purchased when we’d baptised our daughter, being the only one that would fit him now.

And it was decided, Nick would be buried in his suit, at his family church.

In the same church, with the same priest that had baptised him, that had married us, and that had christened our daughter and would now officiate his funeral.

Nick’s time had now come full circle.

The circus has come to town - part 2
At a wedding in 2006

The funeral director had bought a couple of workers with him and they were to take Nick from the house to the funeral palour.

It was a tense time for us, though to them, there was very little emotion shown, they were just doing their job.

Everyone rushed to say their goodbyes to Nick, his mum didn’t want to let him go. I was calm, I gave him a final hug and kiss, but to me, he was already gone.

His body was cold, there was no signs of life left.

They lifted all 47kg’s of him onto a stretcher and then zipped him up in a blue body bag. I wasn’t prepared for that, the sight of my husband, the love of my life, the father of my child, being zipped away, like he was an extra on some crime show!

They rolled him down my driveway to the waiting car, neighbours obviously noticing something was up, all started to come over.

They walked slowly like zombies, getting closer, not quite sure what was happening.

And we all watched as they fittingly, put him into the back of a Toyota hi-ace van, and drove away. (On a side note, this was the only Toyota that Nick had never bought home!)

I’ll leave it there for now, thanks everyone for reading along and welcome to the new readers.

I’ll pick this up at the same time next week.

Keep sharing and commenting, I love hearing from you.

Til next week, Michela x

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17 thoughts on “The circus has come to town – part 2

  1. Hi
    I so related to your color comments!
    I lost my best friend in an accident (Nick also knew her), we all knew Nick from those House Parties back in the day!
    20 years on, her mother still battles with the people telling her she seems to enjoy her life too much, because she doesn’t wear black, she goes swimming, she has fun (well tries to).
    The sad part of it is, her eldest daughter passed away tragically, meanwhile she has a 3 year old daughter, and people are telling her she can’t continue her life as it was.

    All the power to you and everyone that has lost someone, no one call tell you what colour your should wear. (Note: my nonna would have told me the same thing) Losing someone today has become a much different exeperience than for those older. I think I prefer “our” way!

    Loving your blogs, keep it up.

    Camilla (yes cousin of Simon, Rob & Steve, in case you were wondering haha)

    1. Hi Camilla,
      Thank you for reading along and commenting, any cousin of the Ciarma’s is a friend of mine!!

      Im so sorry you lost your best friend, and I can totally relate to the comments her poor mother has had to endure, ive had my fair share too.
      Thinking of doing a future post about the inappropriate comments I received, there are some doozies, especially from people that I barely knew.
      Everyone wants to tell you how to grieve and mourn and that ‘it doesn’t look good’ to other people, but I agree, the younger generation are more accepting and know they have to continue life as best we can. My Nonna was a total pain after Nick died, I don’t think she ever understood me during that time, they are so traditional. Thank you for your support, I hope you continue to read along.
      Michela xxx

  2. im liking the second post in a week, but still never feels enough. your blog is so inspirational. I like what jean wrote, all so true, especially about the”type of person u are” you definitely are caring and giving, your truly an amazing woman/mother.
    ** you could even put your eulogy in your blog 🙂
    always looking forward to the next post
    xoxoxox

    1. Hey Sel,
      Thank you for thinking that i’m amazing, honestly i’m not, just doing my best to tell our story.
      I’m so happy we have become friends and that now you get a glimpse into our life prior to knowing us. Loving the idea of a eulogy post, thanks for the suggestion, I might just do that!!
      Michela xxx

  3. Michela I watched Offspring and thought of you so many times..I can’t imagen what would be like to go trough it I cry every time I read 🙁 . The strenght that you get in the most difficult times of your life is incredible.Sharing the story with world must be hard because you relived every stage of it again,
    but at the same time memory of Nick touched people that never even met him and makes it that more special, that more of us know that a beautiful husband/ father exsisted out there.Someone who was so orgnized and someone who you shared life with has left leaving for ever this way in so many hearts and thoughts. He left you with beautiful daughter and trough her eyes you see him I am sure. Keep writting. (P.s.sorry about my english as its my second language and hope what I wrotte makes sence hahha xx)

    1. Hi Vanja,
      Thank you so much for taking the time to comment, your English is very good! I couldn’t tell it was your second language!!
      Watching Offspring has been a little weird, but thankfully enough of it is different that i’m not a sobbing mess throughout it. Thank you for your kind words, Nick was an amazing husband and father and i’m eternally grateful for having had him in my life, I’m so happy that my writing has shown what a great guy he was. I’m never sad writing about our story, as im so touched by everyone, including yourself who continue to read along and get something out of it. He always wanted me to share this story.
      Thank you again, I hope you continue reading, Michela xx

      1. Thanks for replying… I literally can’t wait for the next post keep checking my emails daily! The way you described about your husbands last day when you just wanted relatives to leave you both was exactly the same when I lost my Dad to cancer. It was so moving to read and can’t thank you enough for sharing. I’m going to get my Mum to read your blog as think it will really help her with her grief x

        1. Hi Kate,
          Thanks so much for your enthusiasm for my blog, I love hearing from you and knowing you wait on my next posts.
          Also, I love knowing that sharing this part of my life, can help others deal with their own grief.
          It’s a funny thing, like sharing the grief, someone lets you know you’re not alone, even though you’re surrounded by well meaning friends and relatives at the time, no one can really understand unless they’ve been there themselves.
          Hope to hear from you again, Michela x

  4. Everything we do at funerals that may or may not be what our husbands really wanted us to do—wearing black, not having a eulogy or any of the other things we widows get pressured to do one way or another—is easier to live with if we remember that funerals are for the living, not the deceased. Some promises can be broken without guilt if it eases someone’s pain and that’s what you did for your husband’s family. Giving when you yourself were in such pain says a lot about the kind of person you are and your giving/caring nature is probably one of the traits your husband loved about you best. So would he really be surprised that you didn’t follow his wishes to a fault?

    There is still a way you can do a eulogy, though. You could put it in a Monumark QR code for anyone in the future who passes by your husband’s grave to access with their smart phone. I plan to do that with the eulogy I wrote for my husband.

    1. Hi Jean,
      Yes, I love that, funerals are for the living, which is why I just agreed and allowed his parents to give him the send off they needed. It’s a difficult enough time without causing further trouble over something as simple as flower arrangements. I know Nick would be fine with how it worked out and would have been shaking his head knowing it was beyond my control, if he was around, we would have had a laugh about it.
      I love your idea about the QR code, I have never seen anything like that before. I will look into that, its very clever. Thanks for the suggestion.
      Michela x

      1. The guy who told me about the QR codes owns a monument company and said they are new in the past year but they are becoming very popular very fast.

  5. I find it sad but comforting to know what you had gone through in those moments with Nick are not too dissimilar to my last moments with Michael.
    Even when I say “last moments” they are only a scratch on what you shared throughout your life with each other and even now – there are never really any last moments.
    It’s a surreal feeling I guess that only widows or widowers experience when it does finally happen and the sequence of events that only you can make light of. It’s as if they are still around making jokes and telling you to not be so serious. Anyway that’s what I get with your relationship with Nick – a lot like ours.
    I hope I’m not offending you by my straight-forward ramble.
    Thank you for your sincerity,
    Bronwyn x

    1. Hi Bronwyn, I’m smiling as I read your comment, because you’re right it’s only something widows/ers would understand.
      I agree, we never have ‘last moments’ because I still feel Nick around all the time, even on my recent wedding day, just popping in to say hi. I’m sure you understand this and have had your own moments with Michael.
      I’m absolutely not offended, it’s so refreshing to talk to someone who can truly understand and not scoff and tell you you’re imagining things. Once you have a deep connection with someone, I think you can almost still feel them and know what they’d be thinking etc. It’s a weird thing to try explain, but I may dedicate a future post to it one day. Thanks for reading along, so appreciate it. Michela xx

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