One of the things Nick was adamant about during this time, was making memories. Yes, snapping pics on his phone, but more than that, celebrating what life he had left. He knew that he wouldn’t be around for all the milestones that come with being a parent, or even that of being a husband, son or friend.
So, it became his mission to try and do as much of it, as he could, while he was still ok. As mentioned previously, we had our first and last family trip overseas, tick and done!
But before that, when he was just diagnosed he planned a ‘Nick’s got cancer, come eat and help him get fat before he starts chemo’ party at our place. Still not realising at that time, how soon the end would come. But it was a night of talking about his illness, while scoffing Tolberone cheesecake, yum! But, that was Nick, he loved having everyone together and had a way of making it happen.
Like when he organised a catch up at his mum’s place with his family. It was the first time in a long while, that we’d been together in one place with his siblings and nieces and nephews. We had a great afternoon together, a chance to hang out and for them to ask us questions to help everyone better understand his illness, but more than that, it was valuable family time.
Again, making memories for everyone, and not just ones of Nick being sick, it was important to him, that they saw him when he was well too, so they could remember him being the same Nick they always knew.
Then came our daughter’s first birthday. I admit, I wasn’t keen on having a celebration, with everything that was going on, I didn’t think we’d have the energy to host anything and the way Nick’s condition was going, you never knew what state he’d wake up in.
But, no, he got about organising a first birthday for her, at of all places, our house! It made me nervous, we’d already had to cancel celebrations for her baptism because he’d been so unwell and that was 3 months ago, I didn’t see this working out any better. But, with his stubborn attitude and hard head, (yes, I can see you all nodding from here, agreeing with me!) It was onwards with the party and making memories!
So, we invited 100 of our closest family and friends for a Sunday lunch for Claudia’s butterfly themed 1st Birthday. We had everyone help out with food, so we weren’t too frazzled, including his Dad arriving at the break of dawn to start the spit. (He was Greek, don’t forget!)
Nick woke up feeling good, the adrenalin of knowing he was going to have everyone over, gave him a boost. He even made a sign that he stuck to the front door, welcoming everyone to the party, but asking that they refrain from asking any questions or talking about his cancer, because it was Claudia’s day, not his!
The day went off without a hitch, Claudia was the center of attention, surrounded by people who loved her and wanted to celebrate, but what a year it had been for us all.
Because a year ago, we had this precious new life in our hands, our heads filled with all the possibilities and opportunities that would come her way. Where we had once, just been 2 adults on the same path, now we had created his little being, to join us, to become apart of our family.
We didn’t know cancer would come and destroy this bliss and would take one of us away from our little girl, so that she may never know how excited, happy and proud she made her Dad, just by being born.
On a side note, when Nick was so sick, I would say, I wish I could take your pain from you and be the sick one, he’d always reply by saying, ‘Little girls need their mothers, it’s best that this happened to me’. That still brings a tear to my eye every time!
And Nick was making sure she would always know how loved she was, by filming and celebrating every milestone he could with her, even if it was just because it was a Saturday. I have almost all of her 1st birthday party filmed, including his beautiful speech, thanking everyone, but also telling Claudia and I, what we meant to him. And i’m not normally a ‘cry in front of people’ person, but I did that day, my emotions got the better of me and I cried, and he did too. Just knowing, that there would never be this moment again, the two of us and our baby girl in front of a birthday cake.
If you were at this party, you might have remembered when it turned, it got late in the afternoon and Nick’s adrenaline had all but worn out, and his illness took over again, and he literally kicked out the last of our guests. He just needed rest and quiet again, it was a somber end to an otherwise, perfect day and the reminder that not all was well with him. This was 6 weeks before he was gone..
He always set about making memories, even for us as a couple, and around rolled our 6 year wedding anniversary, without our knowing, it would now be 4 weeks before he was gone.
I was happy to just spend the night at our apartment, but Nick had other plans, enlisting my mum to help organise my gifts and his parents to babysit our daughter for the night. He wasn’t very well that day, but he surprised me with a dinner at one of our favourite restaurants, Silks at Crown (haven’t been back since!) and ordered the full banquet, of which he ate all but nothing. It drew such attention from the wait staff, that the manager came over and asked if there was something wrong. Nick tried to explain he was unwell and couldn’t eat much, so they set about packaging it up, as take away, apparently they told us, something they never do!
More than that, Nick surprised me with the most beautiful gifts. Firstly, another Prada bag, because he said, he knew when he was gone, I would never spoil myself with luxury items and he thought I deserved them everyday. He thought when we bought my original one in Italy, that i’d secretly wanted the new one he bought, (this was NOT true, I fought with him not to buy the first one, it was all in his head!) and he bought me gorgeous 2ct diamond stud earrings, for much the same reason, knowing i’d never do the same for myself. Boy, he was proud of his gifts and I was speechless for the rest of the night. I even wore my earrings on my recent wedding day, loving that I had a bit of Nick with me, the bag though, just didn’t go with my dress!
And while we made all the memories we could, there were some that he would just never be around for. All he wanted was to see Claudia walk, she was a slow starter, but to make matters worse, she walked 4 days after his funeral, as per Get Smart’s catch phrase, ‘missed it by that much!’
I’ll end it here, thanks so much for reading along, and have a safe and happy Easter long weekend!
Til next time, Michela x