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

 

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!