The Funeral – The Final Goodbye – part 2

Today I continue on with last week’s post about the day of the funeral, which you’ll find here if you haven’t read it yet, and now to continue with The Funeral – The Final Goodbye – part 2, which covers the burial.

After receiving the worst comment to date, about the state of my grieving from the insensitive driver, (in last week’s post) , I also quickly want to say thank you to everyone who wrote me to send their sympathies on having had that experience!

It definitely sucked and probably made me more conscious of how I was being perceived at the time, as a cold and callous widow. Which was far from the truth, but goes to show that society, likes to dictate how we mourn.

Examples as below:

Crying widow = good, shows loss through tears and can barely speak through the sobbing, very appropriate

In control and ‘acting’ normal widow, maybe some inappropriate joking = bad, not heartbroken, obviously looking forward to new life without husband

And if this isn’t the way widows are perceived, it sure felt like this was what was expected of me, at the time.

Just a quick side story continuing on from this thought, 6 months after Nick’s passing once I was back at work, I agreed to join some friends for a quick drink after work one night. Some guy started chatting to me and I told him I was newly widowed, to which he very rudely said, ‘then what are you doing out?’

Like somehow, being a widow meant I should be holed up at home, crying over my loss, not seeing the light of day. I remember starting to defend myself, but being faced with a blank stare, so I just stormed off instead.

It was one of many insensitive comments I heard following Nick’s death.

There were so many i’ll be doing a future post, probably titled, ‘Dumb things people say to widows’, that could go on for days and days…

Back to the funeral now…

The Funeral - The Final Goodbye - part 2
Nicks memorial card

Nick had decided to be buried in a beautiful country cemetery next to my grandfather, who passed 6 months earlier. I wrote a little about Nick choosing his own plot in this earlier post.

I think most people thought it was a little morbid, Nick choosing where he’d be laid to rest, but I felt great relief in knowing it was what he wanted, and it was one less thing I had to organise alone, without him.

I don’t remember too much about this time at the cemetery, there were so many people, not just around the hole in the ground that they had specially dug for Nick, but people milling around everywhere, as far as I could see.

Still chanting ‘it’s just one day’ to myself. I remember them asking the close family to stand close to the site, as we all took a rose and as they very slowly lowered Nick into the prepared ground, as we threw our roses on top of him.

The rest of the mourners took what roses were left and did the same, a couple of friends threw other things down with him too, and then it was over, a prayer was said and it was done.

It was the final moment.

None of us would ever see Nick again, this bought the finality of our situation to light. There was no option to open his casket or see him in a viewing room, now he would only remain in our memories and hearts forever.

But, I still didn’t break down. I felt like a robot going through the motions, as I’ve said previously, I felt like this body we had just seen lowered into the earth, wasn’t Nick at all, it was just a vacant vessel.

His spirit was still all around me, keeping me sane, like I could almost hear him whispering to me, Ok, I agree that doesn’t sound very sane, but trust me, I was!

Nick’s parents were inconsolable, his mothers legs were jelly under her, they took her to sit under a tree nearby, as everyone started to disperse.

I stood a minute longer at the site alone and then looked up to find people starting to line up to pay their condolences to me.  I couldn’t very well move away and break the chain, so I stood there and greeted each and every one of them.

They were mostly our families, friends, hospital staff and our work mates, plus friends of Nick i’d never had the pleasure of meeting in the flesh, but had heard so much about.

And it was the nicest thing!

With every hug and kiss, came a quick chat, ‘we’ll miss him‘, ‘work won’t be the same‘, ‘he was always right!‘, ‘he said only the best things about you‘, ‘i’m the one he used to punish at the gym‘, ‘The Golden Greek‘, ‘i’ll miss riding with him‘, ‘who’s going to bring me donuts now‘, ‘he took me under his wing‘. ‘he told us how lucky he was to have you‘, ‘he loved you so much‘ and it went on and on.

And I think my conversation ranged from, ‘oh my god, you came!‘, ‘was that you?“, ‘he thought so highly of you‘, ‘he always thought he was so funny’, ‘remember that time’, ‘know that he loved you!’ and the one that springs to mind, ‘we should have gotten around to that dinner date!’ (Teresa that one’s for you!)

And it gave me the strength I needed, hearing how loved and missed he already was.

How he had touched the lives of so many people.

From being so against doing the condolence line, it turned into the one thing I needed.

Instead of crying, I stood there grinning and laughing with each quick story, and I think I surprised so many, by being myself and reveling in these conversations.

Because as anyone will tell you, I have never shied away from talking about Nick, he’s still my favorite topic, hence this blog!

Talking about him, continues to keep his memory alive, because Nick’s greatest fear was being forgotten. But let’s be honest, he had such a big personality, we couldn’t forget him if we tried!

The Funeral - The Final Goodbye - part 2
Back of memorial card

I’ll leave it there for today, thank you again for reading along, commenting, sharing and pressing the ol’ Like button on The Polished Widow Facebook page.

Your thoughts, comments and emails, truly make my day. I hope by sharing my posts it shows others dealing with loss and grief, that no one can tell you how to mourn, it’s something as individual as our fingerprints, no two people do it the same. (I just made that up, am I the new Oprah or what??)

Subscribe below if you want to keep updated on new posts, thanks for your support!

I’m also putting together a future post with all the questions i’ve been getting asked, so if you have one for me, either email me at thepolishedwidow@gmail.com , post to Facebook or send me a tweet @polishedwidow and i’ll add it to the list!

Til next week, Michela

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27 thoughts on “The Funeral – The Final Goodbye – part 2

  1. Hi Michela!

    What a beautiful relationship you and your Nick carved out in your time together! I’m sure you’ve picked up on this, but even though his physical body is no longer here on earth, you are still making memories with him! They may look a little differently than you’d expect, but they are stories nonetheless!

    Thank you for sharing your story, for I do feel that when we talk about our most painful moments, then we show everyone around us that we truly are not alone.

    As I like to say, “We are neighbors in grief and allies in healing.”

    Yours in healing,
    ~Annah Elizabeth

    1. Hi Annah Elizabeth,

      Thank you so much for taking the time to comment, I had a quick trip about your site and think its so beautiful, i’ll have to come back again for a longer pursue.
      Yes, I agree Nick and I are still making memories, especially in that of your daughter, I feel like every milestone she hits or special moment we share, he is right there with me, smiling along.

      Michela x

      1. Ah, all of that makes me happy, Michela. I am honored by your visit to my site and your kind words. I would love to continue to connect and share. I’m on all the social media sites…will look you up as well! Keep making those memories! 🙂

  2. Hi Michela I have loved reading your blog/post they are so from the heart, they have made me laugh, cry, be sad and be angry, not angry at you but At the insensitive remarks people have said to you. I didn’t realise there was a written formula ,, “this is how you grieve” . We are all different and have different coping strategies it’s so obvious how much you loved your husband by the way you talk about him. I look forward to hearing more of your blogs, from a palliative care nurse in England love Chris

    1. Hi Chris,

      Thank you so much for reading along and taking the time to comment!
      I admire you so much as a palliative care nurse, dealing with ill patients and their grieving families would be a very tough gig.
      I’m glad my love for Nick shines through my writing, because following his passing I felt like people doubted that, because I wasn’t carrying on. But, yes, there is no ‘right’ way to grieve, I hope my blog goes some way to proving that.

      Michela xxx

  3. Thank you Michela for continuing to share these memories of that terrible day. We will never stop missing our husbands, or ever forget these details and what we have gone through.

    The rude comments thing is horrible. As if we aren’t miserable enough. The insensitivity is inexcusable. Since I lost Mike I’ve seen and heard quite enough. It’s like so many people don’t understand grief and loss at all. Maybe there should be some class or instruction in this somewhere in school or in life for all of us. It would make us a better group of humans. Sheesh.

    1. Hi Stephanie,
      Yes, we never forget our husbands, they are apart of us, I still miss Nick everyday, as i’m sure you do Mike.
      Love your idea about a grief handling class, wouldnt that be fun! I guess it’s why us widows get so thick skinned, learning to just let it roll off our backs, when in reality you’d love to give them a piece of your mind instead. I will do a future post about it, could help some others grieving from hearing the same rubbish we did!

  4. A week or so ago, I came across your blog, on Facebook I barely remember what I had been reading, but I clicked on your site and began to read, finding that when I looked up it gad been 1.5 hr.
    I’ve never read a blog before, I’ve always wanted to start one of my own.
    I really enjoyed reading, and getting to know both you, Nick and Claudia, and the family.
    I hope you continue to blog now,
    I’ve laughed, cried, smiled, and even tried keeping my composure through reading.
    I am so happy to have come across your blog and learn about both you and Nick.
    You sound very strong, and confident. I an sure Nick would be proud of how you have taken care of things, and I believe he is excited for you all to be together again.
    Thanks for sharing, I’ve learned and grown, I admire the man Nick is/was.

    1. Hi!!
      Welcome to The Polished Widow, so glad you found me and took the time to comment! Thank you for your kind words, I think I will continue to blog, I still have much to say, you should start one, it’s super easy! I never thought I was much of a writer but I love knowing that my posts have bought out the same emotions I get as i’m writing along, sometimes laughing at our memories, other times typing through my tears. I hope Nick would be proud of this, im sure he’d love being talked about after his passing, keeping his spirit alive. Thank you so much for reading along
      Michela x

  5. Hi Michela

    Loved this post as always you speak with such honesty!!! I’m sure your husband WILL be very proud of you! You really lift the lid on grief and how it’s ok to behave and deal with it in your own unique way… This will be do refreshing and reassuring for others to see who are going through what you’ve been through!

    Looking forward to the next post already!

    Kate x

    1. Hi Kate!!

      Thanks again for commenting and your kind words, honestly, it makes my day knowing that people love my posts and appreciate them. I hope it does give the ok to grieve in your own way, because honestly I wish at the time that Nick died I had someone telling me it was ok to just do what I was doing. Felt like I had eyes on me at every turn because I wasn’t doing it right!
      Better get writing on the next post…let me know if there’s anything in particular you’d like me to write about!

      Michela xxx

      1. Hi Michela

        I’m sitting hear crying after watching the video footage you posted on Facebook of you, Nick and your gorgeous daughter! How unbelievably brave he was to do that and what a lovely man he seemed his love for you and his daughter was so clear to see. He seemed so calm and serene.

        In response to you asking is there anything in particular I would like you to write about then I do have one question. As I said I lost my Dad to vowel cancer very quickly 8 years ago and although I’ve accepted and feel I’ve moved through my grief my Mum is still struggling. She finds it still do difficult to talk about him and seems to be do angry still that he isn’t here. My sister and I worry constantly about her but she is very string willed and rarely opens up. Do you think one in one counselling would be good for her and if so could you suggest a way of introducing this idea to her in a way that doesn’t look pushy but just shows we are really worried about her please?

        Sorry if I’ve gone on so much !

        Thanks again

        Kate x

        1. Hi, Kate,

          I’m sorry to hear about your father’s untimely death and the struggles your mother still faces.

          You mention that you and your sister are concerned about her. The areas and depth of that concern will dictate what involvement will be effective/appreciated/necessitated or a combination of those things.

          Studies have shown that it can take on average 8-10 years for someone to overcome a significant loss. One thing I learned on my own journey to healing is that our level of grief is not determined by what is lost, but rather by our attachment to what has gone missing from our lives…

          At a minimum, it is never inappropriate to mention that you both love her very much and are concerned (about what specifically) about her.

          As far as counseling, I would ask if she has ever pursued that or talked about it on her own. If not, hen she may Not be receptive. However, if you and your sister were to seek out a therapist to help the two of you together and ask if your mom will join you, then it might fly and be effective…

          The other question is, does she like to read? I have found that reading and listening to others’ stories was a great help to me simply because I could see that I wasn’t alone AND I was able to cull from all those stories different elements I could apply to my own life. If she reads, possibly other stories of hope and inspiration might benefit her.

          I also invite you to my website http://www.thefivefacets.com, where I present a philosophy to help people make the transition from grief to healing.

          Hope that helps you, Journeyer.

          All my best!
          Yours in healing and hope,
          ~Annah Elizabeth

          1. Thanks so much for taking the time to reply to me. You offer sound advice that will really help me. Thanks ever so much
            Kate x

        2. Hi Kate,

          Always a pleasure to hear from you and no, you never go on too much!
          As you may have seen, you have received a reply to your question from another reader, Annah Elizabeth, she raises some very good points about your mum’s grief. I’ll just add my own thoughts, but bear in mind i’m definitely no expert, just going off my own personal experience.

          I understand how your mum would be angry, I was too for a while, even though I accepted Nick’s passing and knew it was inevitable and definitely not what he wanted (much like your Dad, i’m sure) you have no one else to blame for your pain, so they become easy targets. I was able to move on from this stage, but sounds like your mum is still there. There is much talk about the 5 stages of grief and anger is up there normally at the beginning. I guess what’s important to note is that everyone’s grief is individual and doesn’t always follow a set out plan.
          Sounds like seeing a therapist could help, she might not want to burden you and your sister with her thoughts of your Dad and what she feeling, and if she is old school, they have a tendency to clam up and not talk about things. I think the suggestion provided by Annah Elizabeth to maybe get to someone together could help, but again, she may not be very receptive. Unfortunately, you can’t make her go.
          Is she religious or attend church, sometimes your local priest would be able to help talk to her too. And also, does she like to read? I’m not sure if she’d find comfort in my blog but there are so many out there that deal with similar themes. Would she read pages, if you printed them and left them lying around for her ?
          I think talking is an important part of healing, well, it was for me, i’m sure she knows how much you and your sister love her and are only looking out for her, keep reassuring her that she isn’t alone, though she may feel like it.

          Now, ive gone on…hope some of this is a help, feel free to email me at thepolishedwidow@gmail.com if you’d like to continue this conversation, i’m happy to chat more.

          Michela xx

          1. Hi Michela

            Thanks so much for your advice it really means a lot and I believe will really help me! X

  6. My name is Vicky I’m from the U.K.Reading your blog has really opened my eyes, my grandpa had the same cancer but he didn’t have any chemo or anything the only thing that he had done was have a stent in but within a few days he had died. So reading how the cancer affected nick I’m pleased my grandpa died soon after being diagnosed although he did have a heart condition as well I’ve think I would have found it hard to see the cancer take hold of his body.
    Also reading how you didn’t show any emotion in public my mum was like that when my dad her husband died and her own dad my grandpa.

    1. Hi Vicky,
      Thank you for reading along, all the way from the UK. I’m sorry to hear about the loss of your grandpa, pancreatic cancer definitely sucks! You were lucky enough not to have watched him succumb to it, I hope you had time to say your goodbyes before he passed. It was hard to watch Nick go through what he did, but ultimately it gave us some extra time together to love a little more, so I’m grateful for that.
      Michela xx

  7. I think what a lot of people don’t understand about widows whose husbands were ill for a long while before dying is that we did much of our grieving before the actual death takes place. We’d been there for the day-to-day downward slide where others have not. We still grieve afterward, of course, but the acceptance part of our loss is one small battle that we’d already fought before the funeral.

    I understand what you mean about feeling your husband’s spirit around you, too. I felt it with mine as well for over a year and sometimes even now once in a while. It’s real and not insane.

    1. Hi Jean,
      Yes you understand me very well, I guess as widows we have much in common!
      I agreed that Nick and I grieved his loss together before he was gone, and then with his passing came some relief that he wasn’t suffering anymore, the funeral was just another day to get past.
      And thank you for sharing that you feel your husbands spirit too, it is very real, sometimes when Im writing my posts, i can almost feel him staring over my shoulder!!

  8. Your blog saddens the hell out of me, makes me laugh and it’s made me cry. All in all I feel as though I knew Nick and know you. Michela you are an amazing woman, you have shown so much strength and courage and your love for Nick is reflected in your writing.
    I wish you and your beautiful girl all the best for he future and your angel is always with you xx

    1. Thank you for taking the time to comment!
      I love that reading my blog brings you on our journey, full of emotions and that you feel like you know us, I wish more people could have had the pleasure of knowing Nick when he was around, he was a brilliant guy, hugely motivational and so inspiring, but I guess through my blog, a whole world of people get to read all about him now, which i’m sure he’d be stoked about.
      Thank you for your best wishes, and for reading along, I hope you continue to.
      Michela xx

  9. The world losing Nick, and Nick leaving so early, I get motivation from that to just get moving on the things I want to do that matter. It’s almost like I feel *ashamed* at not giving my dreams 110%, just because of people like Nick who left the show far too early but still managed to pack *so much* into the wonderful life they did have. Does that sound rude? It’s not meant to be. It’s almost like the memories of awesome people like Nick (and I know I did not know him well) are saying “Hey! You’re still here! Get moving!”

    1. Hey Rose, totally agree with you and no, doesn’t come across as rude at all.
      All Nick wanted was for people to see how short life was and that we only get one shot at it to do our best. He definitely crammed much into his 32 years and it gives me a kick in the pants every time, just thinking about how much extra life I have than him to do good and live it to the fullest.I sincerely hope thats one of the lessons people get from my blog.
      Michela xxxx

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