Tag Archives: Happy Birthday Nick

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!

 

 

Happy Birthday Nick!

Today I have taken a break from the Back to the beginning series for a special post – Happy Birthday Nick! It’s March 16th and instead of being sad about it, I choose to celebrate Nick’s life, in the same way I have since his passing.

Today is also the Melbourne Grand Prix and if you knew anything about Nick, it was that he had a crazy love for the sport and luckily enough, it nearly always landed on his birthday! (Not so great for any photos we might have tried to get on his birthday, he was always bright red and sun burnt from being at the track!)

Happy Birthday Nick!
Nick celebrating a birthday, looking as red as his cake!

(* on a side note, you’ll see how old this photo must be, when you look at how ancient that phone next to him looks!)

One of his last memorable birthdays was his 30th, being that it was on a GP weekend, it was only appropriate that it was also Grand Prix themed, as noted by the invitation below:

Happy Birthday Nick!
Nick’s 30th Birthday invite
Happy Birthday Nick!
Us at his 30th, him burnt from being at the GP all day!! Somebody say sunglasses marks!
Happy Birthday Nick!
30th Birthday room setup (we thought it looked pretty good, at the time!)

As you’ll notice Nick’s favourite team was McLaren, but he also was very passionate about the Panasonic Toyota Racing team (whilst they were around), due to the loyalty he felt in being an employee and loving his job at Toyota for the last 13 years of his life! There was even a Toyota fancy dress competition he entered once, where he went to the GP dressed as Captain Toyota, no photo evidence of this, but believe me, it was funny! And for wearing his undies over leggings in public, he only got second place, he was devastated, because 1st prize was a trip to the Monaco GP. (If anyone has a photo of this, please send it to me!!)

On a less humiliating note, being that he worked for Toyota, he was also privy to tickets to races and even meeting drivers, as below, in these pics with their driver, Jarno Trulli.

Happy Birthday Nick!
Meeting Trulli in March 09′
Happy Birthday Nick!
So happy to hang with Trulli in 2009

If you’re a friend of Nick’s, you won’t need me to tell you how much he hated Ferrari. I think it was more about the friendly rivalry to ‘stick it up the spags’ as he’d say. He loved the GP so much, that he would stay up all night, to watch it live throughout the season. From my bedroom, I could clearly hear him calling around to all his mates, also watching, and giving them a ribbing for how their teams, but namely Ferrari, were going! After Nick’s death, I remember a couple of his friends saying how difficult it was for them to watch it and know he wasn’t going to call.

He also loved the GP so much, that he planned our holidays around races. While he would have loved to cross a few more of the international circuits off his list, it wasn’t to be. On our last trip to Italy before his passing, he desperately wanted to go to the Italian GP, but his health wasn’t so great and it was a far distance from where we were at the time.

In also keeping with my, ‘never say no to your dying husband’ plan, we booked a trip to Malaysia with our friends John and Natalie to see another GP in April 2011, but he passed away before then.

At the time of planning, we’d all be looking at each other thinking there’s a good chance he won’t be around to go to this, but he was so persistent, all we could do was agree and book tickets. Nick was so determined to see another Grand Prix race live before he died,  that I just let him do whatever he wanted, regardless of the consequences.

Once he passed away, we were able to get our money back on airline tickets and I even managed to sell his Malaysian GP ticket to my mum’s neighbour who was going to be holidaying there at the same time, what a fluke!! So, in all, it made him happy planning it and there was no harm done.

He did get to the Malaysian and Montreal races, before his illness, also travelling with others who enjoyed the Grand Prix as much as he did, we went to Malaysia with my sister, Franca and brother in law, Eden and met up with a good friend of Nick’s from Toyota, Nick & his wife Sophie, to go to the Montreal race.

Happy Birthday Nick!
Grid girls in Malaysia, 09′, his favourite thing to do at the track was get this shot!
Happy Birthday Nick!
Montreal track in 08′
Happy Birthday Nick!
Accident in Montreal

Nick loved driving and would often say that he would have been a gun Formula One driver, I believe him, but as his well weight was over 100kg, we’d always joke he’d never fit in the narrow cars, when he got sick and started to shrink, he would say to me, he was now the perfect drivers weight. But, too bad, by then, I was the closest thing to a grid girl he was going to see!

One of the things i’ve stored away for our daughter, is his collection of Formula One race passes. I’m sure a few have gone missing over the years, but I look forward to the day, when I get to talk to her about her Dad’s obsession with these as proof, oh and the other 200 photos of Nick posing with grid girls, he never got bored of that!

Happy Birthday Nick!
Collection of GP passes

The last birthday that Nick planned was for his 33rd birthday, knowing he probably wasn’t going to be around much longer, he thought he’d throw a huge party at his friend John’s restaurant and invite everyone who meant something to him. These were the last invites he ever sent out:

Happy Birthday Nick!
Nick’s last birthday invite

Nick died 5 weeks before this party, so I did the one thing I knew he’d want me to do, I continued on with it. Instead of it being just a birthday party, I made it a celebration of his life instead. After the heaviness of his funeral, and feeling like there was nothing of Nick there, I needed to do something that was Nick. A party was just what he’d want!

I think most people would have thought I’d cancel the party, but the thought never crossed my mind. It was a gathering of all our favourite people, who meant so much to us and had been such a support over the past 7 months, even his Doctors and some of the hospital staff, who he’d left an impression on, made it. I had such a good time that day, being able to thank everyone for their support, i’m sure some of our guests expected to see me a broken woman dressed in black, but I was anything but, I spent the day talking about the man who meant so much to me, there were no tears, just happy memories.

My friend, Margaret, put all his photos together and we played this during the day, I have vivid memories of laughing out loud at the pics, and saying, ‘oh..remember that day..’, it was the best good bye I could have given Nick.

Another nod to his love of the GP is visible on his headstone. I had no doubt in my mind, that I wanted something to reflect his love of the sport and so I had the racing flags etched on it for him. Some might think it’s a bit much, but I thought it was the perfect touch! (Much better than the Toyota symbol, some people suggested!)

Happy Birthday Nick!
Nick’s headstone before it was erected

So, today I wish Nick a very Happy Birthday, wherever he is, looking down on us, though i’m sure he’s really track side watching the GP!

Thanks for everything Nick, we’ll never forget you, you were one of a kind!

Til next time, Michela x