Tag Archives: love

Nick in healthier times

Are you over it yet?

Hi again, I hope everyone is having a good week so far and to those of you who have stumbled across my blog, hi, you might want to read a little about me here or at the beginning of my story here.

Today i’ve decided to write a little about my experience with how people react post my loss and the question i’m often asked, ‘are you over it yet?’ Yep, people are actually that direct.

I’ve written previously about how difficult it was immediately after the loss and also a bit about moving forward, which you can read here but this takes a different turn again, about how people react 6 years later.

Because things change from sympathy (i’m so sorry, are you ok?) to now 6 years later I get (really? but you married again, so you’re good) No lie, i’ve actually been told this!! Like apparently it just erases the pain and memories, like some magic pill.

And yes, don’t get me wrong, I am great, I am married again to an amazing guy, who didn’t bat an eyelid at me being a widow with a kid, he has been a constant stream of support and love. It did help that we dated as teens, so he was no stranger to me or my family, but still, he took on more than most men would. And he has never once asked me to stop writing about Nick or my time as a widow, in fact he has come to me with suggestions for posts.

He is very secure in our marriage and my love for him.

But back to my point of this post and this blog in general because when I first started writing over 3 years ago (yes, it’s been that long!!!) I was constantly told, I must be doing this for the therapy, to get things off my chest.

(Because I definitely wasn’t writing for all the free PR stuff you see bloggers getting, though OPI if you’re reading this, i’d love the Fiji or the new California Dreaming  Collection, thanks!)
In reality, I felt an urge to write about what had happened to us, Nick encouraged it before he passed. I did originally think it would only ever be for my daughters to read one day, but off it took on Facebook one day when a friend posted it, and the rest is well, you know, history.

I didn’t particularly feel like I was being freed of any feelings, but I did re-discover my love of writing and yes, there were days I cried while writing remembering all the times and Nick, but I was always happy to do it.

Then came the beautiful messages, as it took off around the world from other young widows, feeling like they weren’t alone. And not just widows, but anyone who had been through a loss or hard time, who were reading along and writing me such beautiful emails.

By sharing my time and feelings, like my widow humour and my life since, it gave them hope, that they too could get through this and live their next chapters. And also the emails from people who’d not suffered a loss but how reading along made them appreciate their own lives even more. Kind of like, ‘well, my husband does piss me off, but I love him and he’s still here, so guess I should appreciate that’.

These letters alone are enough validation for me to keep writing, and believe me there are so many. But, please keep writing me though, I love hearing from you!

But, i’m always asked, ‘so now that you’ve written your story, are you going to keep writing, like, what else can you say?’ or ‘you’ve written about Nick enough now, don’t you want to get on with your life?’, and my favourite, ‘are you over it yet?’

I get this, I really do, but writing these posts, does not mean I’m living in the past or that I don’t appreciate my future, I seriously look forward to growing old(er) with my husband and in all honestly, I have so much more I want to write (maybe even a book one day, like you all keep suggesting!)

It’s as though I’m really being asked, ‘aren’t you over your loss yet, it was 6 years ago?’ and the quick answer is no, i’ll never be completely over losing Nick, while I have this amazing new life, it doesn’t replace my previous one.

Would you ever forget a grandparent who passed away? Just never mention them again and act they never existed, well of course not, then why should I do the same? Nick was and is a huge part of my life, he shaped me into the person I am today. I refuse to stop mentioning him because it might make other people uncomfortable and trust me it does. I see how people don’t know what to say once I mention him, even something as simple as ‘oh yeah, Nick and I went there once…’ becomes a conversation killer, they don’t know where to go from there, they change the topic real quick!

But honestly for me it’s fine, just keep talking, I won’t break down in tears, unless we’re talking about my 2 year old not wanting to sleep at night, because that’s painful.

When my loss first occurred everyone was walking on eggshells around me, not sure what to do or say, 6 years later, I find that the sensitivity of losing my first husband has almost completely gone, and that’s fine, I get it. Time has healed the shock of losing Nick, and though he’s left a void, people have moved forward and worked around it. Like knowing someone with a massive wart on their nose, you know it’s there, you just don’t mention it all the time.

I guess in that analogy i’m the wart or am I the nose, umm ok then, moving right on…

Recently I was told I was too young to understand life, by someone much older than me, I was offended and replied that i’d lost my husband to cancer when I was just 30, I waited for the penny to drop for her, like she’d agree I’d already been through so much, but instead she replied, ‘yeah, but you were young, wait til you get to my age, then you’ll know life.’

I took a moment to check myself, was I being too cocky about this life and death business, I did feel as though she washed over the fact i’d already been deeply touched by it, but that by no means makes me an expert in life, right?

But she had reacted as though, because I’d been widowed young and re-married, that it didn’t matter and unfortunately i’ve had this reaction so many times before, I shouldn’t let it bother me.

I’ve also had people tell me we weren’t married long enough for it to impact me enough, because I still have so much of my life left to live. I understand that, but i’ve also been through something so heartbreaking, so i’d say I know a little about life and perspective and Nick and his illness unfortunately taught me that and of course, I have a heap more to experience as I continue on in my life without him.

But, i’ve rambled long enough again, so I’ll end with some advice, never ask someone who’s grieving or been through a loss, whether it’s been 6 days, 6 months or even 6 years if they’re over it, because chances are, like me, they’ll always have a piece of their hearts missing. Like my Instagram post (@the_polished_widow) says, ‘You are near, even if I don’t see you. You are with me, even if you’re far away. You are in my thoughts, in my heart, in my life. Always.’

Til next time, Michela xx

p.s if there’s something you’d like to ask me or you’ve had a similar experience, i’d love to hear from you,  just write to me via the form below!

A Letter To Nick

Today I want to share with you, A Letter To Nick, I hope you enjoy this post.

If you missed my last post about my time following his death, you can read it here and a huge welcome to my new followers, you may want to start reading here at the beginning before continuing on.

A Letter To Nick
Nick

Dear Nick,

It’s been 3 years, 5 months and 19 days since you were physically here with me, yet sometimes it feels like just last week when I saw you.

My memories of you and us and our time together are always at the forefront of my mind and heart. I know you were scared we’d forget you, but I want you to know, not a day goes by, where I don’t speak your name or tell one of your stories.

I wish so much that you were still around to see Claudia grow into the kind, sweet and thoughtful girl she has become. She asks me why you are in heaven and not here? I tell her she’s such a lucky girl to have Daddy in heaven watching out for her, that you had important work to do up there, so you sent John to watch over us here. I tell her she’s so special, because she has two Dads that love her so very much.

Sometimes before bed, she wishes you a goodnight in heaven, but i’m pretty sure you hear her, right? I have never stopped talking to her about you and how much you love her.

You know I never really believed you when you used to tell me you were psychic, and that you saw yourself dying young. You couldn’t tell me how, but you used to say it had to be a car crash or something, because you saw yourself going in your prime, just a feeling you had, sometimes in a dream. I’d tell you to shut up, it wasn’t something that was going to happen!

I’ll tell you now I believe you, it’s just something that seemed so unbelievable then.

Maybe subconsciously you did know you’d be gone too soon, which is why you seemed to accomplish more than most 32 years old’s.

And going on that psychic point, that list you jokingly wrote before you died, with the names of everyone you thought would be there for me and who’d drop off 6 months after you passed away, you were so right!

How could you have known !?

So, I believe you now, maybe you were a little psychic!

Nick, I always put you on a pedestal, you were everything I wasn’t. Smart, confident (sometimes to the point of arrogant!) , successful, ambitious, determined, well liked. You were everything to everyone, an adviser, mentor, confidante, great mate.

You had friends from all walks of life, such was the span of your personality. Always wanting to learn and to better yourself, you used to tell me to ‘surround yourself with people you’d want to be like, to inspire you to be a better person.’ You were the only person I ever needed around, you gave me inspiration by the bucket loads.

In the early 2000’s we’d jokingly sing, ‘I wanna be like Nick’ because you were such a perfectionist all rounder, we teased you, but only because we really did love the way you were.

Though I still stand by what i’ve always said, you just weren’t that funny, though you always thought you were, leave the funny to me, it’s just one thing you didn’t excel in! Sorry!

But, you were always mature beyond your years, I sometimes felt like I was dating a much older guy. When we’d go out to dinner, you’d talk finance and property and i’d do my best to keep up, with all my 24 years of worldly experience!

As time would evolve so did my appreciation of you and your maturity, it’s one of the things I loved about you the most.

I want to thank you for bringing John into our lives. I know you and his Dad orchestrated this whole thing, i’m sure my grandfather approved of it too. Please say hi to them from us. Don’t act coy about it, there is no other explanation of how we’ve come to be, and I know you still have a sneaky hand in what goes on around here!

I see the white feathers you leave around the house for me, I know you left one at my bedroom door on the day of my wedding, it gave me such a sense of peace knowing you were here for me, just your way of dropping in and saying hi on my most special day.

I feel when you’re around us, which these days is much less than before, but I always appreciate you popping by. Claudia used to tell me about the times you’d play with her in her room, she still mentions it now.

And my sister wants to thank you for getting Marcus to sleep in his big boy bed last year, it truly surprised us all, when he said ‘Uncle Nick says it’s time for me to sleep in my own bed’. He was only 9 months when you died, but he still has a strong connection to you. Though you were always concerned he was a little too roly poly, he has since grown into a handsome little boy, with no weight issues!!

Our families are all well, we talk about you often. I still see your Aunt and Uncle and your cousins, who have all been so accepting of John into our families. They have been so welcoming, even in their immense grief over losing you, they haven’t given me any trouble over my new relationship, not ever! For that, I thank them for being so understanding and generous.

I try my best to be with your parents as much as possible. They still have Claudia once a week for the day and that keeps them entertained, they always look forward to her visits. They still mourn and miss you, as we all do, but I notice some improvements, though they’ll never fully recover from losing you, they do the best they can, to continue to live every day without you. They have also taken John into their lives so seamlessly, you’d be so proud of them!

I saw you in my dream last night, dressed all in white (weird I know, it’s not like you were ever in a boy band!) you were sitting with a laptop reading The Polished Widow, you told me it was ‘spot on’, everything was how you remembered and you told me how proud you were of me. Strange, but I woke up straight after it, feeling like it really was your way of reaching out to me, if it was, message received, thank you.

i love you more now than ever, but it’s because you don’t leave your dirty clothes on the bathroom floor anymore, or give me a hard time for wearing nail polish! You’re the perfect husband, I get to focus only on how much I miss you everyday instead.

Finally, Nick although I am married again, you know I will never forget you. You made me the woman I am today, because of you I have learnt to appreciate life and to live everyday fully. You reminded me that family is so important and that  a handful of good friends is all you’ll ever need. You told me you had faith in me, that I could do this without you and still be a good mum to Claudia (don’t judge me because I give her fairy bread for breakfast some days!)

I do my very best to make you proud of us everyday. Not a decision is made without me thinking, ‘what would Nick do?’, you’re still influencing me in the best possible way.

Loving you always, in this life and beyond,

your wife and widow, Michela xxx

Thank you for reading along and sharing and commenting on my posts, you are the ones who keep me writing!

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And if you want me to expand on anything covered in this letter, drop me an email at thepolishedwidow@gmail.com or comment on this post.

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Husbands, the new and the old

So, today’s post is a slight step away from the course of my story, but after last weekend’s late (and quick) post, which you can read here, it bought up many questions about my new husband, so I thought i’d talk a little about him today in Husbands, the new and the old.

Many people have started reading along half way through this, and have missed that I have actually remarried since Nick’s passing.

I wrote a post about a widow’s view on remarriage, which you can read here, if you’ve missed it. (Albeit, it was only my 4th post and still not something I was thinking of sharing publicly at that time)

So, here goes….

I remarried on January 11, 2014 to a wonderful man named John. He has never been married before or had children of his own.

Husbands, the new and the old
Photo courtesy of Kane Jarrod Photography

He is so supportive of both this blog and me talking about Nick, sometimes a lot!

He understands the situation and has never once told me to ‘get over him’ or to ‘stop talking about Nick’ or to ‘take down all his photo’s’, in fact, our walls are still adorned with photos of Nick, now with just a few of us interspersed between them.

Also importantly, he adores Claudia and treats her as his own, while still mentioning her Dad and taking her on trips to the cemetery to visit him.

John has never tried to replace Nick, nor would I want him too. They are polar opposites of each other and that’s what I love about him because I could never replace Nick, he was one of a kind.

I honestly believe Nick had a hand in John and I being together, because we actually dated as teens back in 1997, and then lost touch for over 13 years, before finding each other again. Weird, right ?

Husbands, the new and the old
Us in 1997

John and I first dated when we were just 16, we were inseparable for over 2 years til we broke up in 1999, wanting some time a part, but staying good friends.

I was introduced to Nick in around 2001, he was smitten with me instantly and being so persistent, before long we were dating.

In September 2003, Nick proposed, I called John to tell him my news. He was gutted because he always thought we’d get back together again one day.

Clearly, those dreams were dashed! He told me then, that it was best if we didn’t speak anymore out of respect to Nick and our future together.

I guess I agreed and from then on, we lost touch. Though I always wondered what he was doing and how life played out for him.

He was after all my first love.

Nick always knew about John. I’d speak about him from time to time, wondering what he was up to. Though they never actually met, expect for a brief hello at the front of a kebab van one night, true story!

One time we drove 4 hours to meet Nick’s ex, because he thought we would be great friends, that didn’t quite work out as he planned!! But the point of this story is, we never shied away from talking about our pasts, because they form apart of who you are and Nick was never a jealous guy.

Over the years John heard i’d had a baby and later that Nick had cancer and had passed away. In his words, he said, ‘he was so sorry for me but didn’t know what to do’, it had been so long since we’d spoken.

In the same year that Nick passed, I heard that John’s Dad had died, also from cancer, my heart broke for his family and for his mum, who like me, was now a widow. But, like John, I did nothing, still in my own world of grief.

Sometime the next year, I decided to write a condolence card to John’s mum. That card stayed in my car for the following 3 months, til one night out with my girlfriend Cathryn, she asked about it and said ‘that’s it, we’re mailing that card tonight!’ and we did.

The next morning John’s mum called me, thrilled to hear from me, saying John has never forgotten you, you have to see each other again.

I wasn’t looking for a new relationship, I definitely didn’t think this would turn into a marriage.

The rest as they say is history, or as some have said, ‘meant to be’.

I like to say I was lazy and just recycled my last boyfriend! (just kidding!)

  • I have never regretted John and I splitting up when we were younger, because I never would have met Nick and been on the most amazing journey with him.
  • Nick and I were meant to be together for that time, to learn and grow and for me to be with him through his illness. For Nick to teach me about life and love and to shape me into the person I am today. I am eternally gratefully to Nick for everything.
  • Being remarried does not mean I have forgotten my past, in fact I sometimes feel like I have two husbands

I also have to add, as easy an addition as John is to our world, it hasn’t all been a positive experience for him.

I have had friends say, while they are happy to still be friends with me, they don’t want to get to know my new husband.

To this I say, if you can’t acknowledge my future, then you don’t have a place in my life.

For friends to say ‘out of respect to Nick’ they don’t want to know John, then it’s their loss, because Nick wouldn’t want that either.

While I understand it may be ‘weird’ for some to see me with someone new, I have managed to be in a place where i’m very comfortable with it, so please don’t project your own insecurities on me.

On the plus side, our little blended family all get along so well. My two mother in laws send each other food, I can have everyone over my place at the same time and John gets along so well with Nick’s parents and extended family, I couldn’t have hoped for a better situation.

In particular John and Nick’s Dad have hit it off. I like to think it’s because one has lost their son and the other their Dad and they somehow make up for it when they’re together. They laugh and joke like they’ve known each other forever, it’s beautiful to see.

I’ve also been so lucky to have John’s family take Claudia and I into their world and be so wonderful and accommodating. I’m excited to have new cousins and family and a mother in law, that is also one of my closest friends.

So, to those people that don’t want to know John or who have a problem with me moving forward, I say, if all my family can be so accepting of me marrying again, what’s your excuse ?

I truly believe Nick is content with the situation, he always wanted me to be happy, and I am. I couldn’t have wished for a more loving, understanding and patient new husband, than I have in John.

Also, it needs to be mentioned, that although everyone thinks it’s been difficult for me having a new partner, and at times it was, not much credit is given to John for walking into our world.

For accepting that Nick is still apart of our lives and that I still love him dearly. John has taken on the responsibility of being an instant Father with a wife who still talks about her previous husband.

There aren’t too many men I know, who would be man enough to take all this on, but he does it without a word of complaint and if that’s not true love, I don’t know what is!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this post!

Thanks again to everyone who’s commenting and sharing on social media. 

Still so touched that people are reading along, thank you!!

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Please let me know if you have any thoughts you’d like me to write about in future posts.

Til next week, Michela xx

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And then his last day came

If you haven’t read last weeks post, then you might want to do that before beginning today’s- and then his last day came. If you’ve only just found this site, welcome, but you’ll probably want to start from the beginning so you can catch up!

Now that’s out of the way, let’s begin.

We had made it home in the ambulance, no sirens blaring, it was a little different to Nick’s last trip in one. We pulled up out the front of our house and they wheeled him in on the stretcher, our friend John had already arrived and watched as Nick was taken out of the ambulance.

He told me at the time, that he noticed Nick look more relaxed as he realised he was home, that the tension in his face disappeared.

I knew we’d done the right thing, it was where Nick wanted to be, back in our home in the suburbs.

It was the first home we bought together, the home we poured our hearts and hard work into, the place we first bought our little girl home to, our home of many gatherings and fun memories and now it would be the place of his final breath.

We set Nick up in our bedroom, as comfortable as we could make him. He was only semi-conscious, drifting in and out of sleep and not being able to say very much, his voice was just a whisper.

And then his last day came
Happier times at a work function in 2007

Phone calls were made, letting friends and family know of his new situation, many of them couldn’t believe how quickly it had transpired, some were planning on visiting the hospital that day. I asked for privacy at that time, as the last thing I wanted was a circus on an already emotional day.

I kept things calm and in control. A few people were invited to come and say their goodbyes, others preferred not to, wanting to keep their last memories of Nick, happy ones instead.  I completely understood this.

Our parents arrived, as did our siblings and I re-iterated what the doctors had told me, ‘this was the end, his body was shutting down, there was nothing more that could be done for Nick, we had to let nature take it’s course now, as hard as it was to watch.’ Of course, no one wants to be the one to deliver this news, but I was the only one who could.

There was nothing else left to do, I couldn’t even drain his ascites, which was one of the indications that the end was near, as his body had even stopped producing the fluid. It was slowly letting go. He was on a morphine pump, so he wasn’t in any pain, it administered the medication at regular intervals to keep him comfortable.

And then I set about doing what any European does in times of stress, I made coffee, over and over again.

Throughout the day, everyone had their time with Nick, to say the things they wanted to say, or just to sit and cry. My grandmother sat at his side with her rosary beads praying. His parents, understandably, were inconsolable, nothing could give them any peace. We were literally watching him get closer to the end, with every breath he took.

I kept my cool, making sure there was no screaming or carrying on, I kept saying, ‘Nick wouldn’t want to hear any wailing over him, let him go in peace.’ I asked that our bedroom remain quiet and comforting for him instead.

I gave his parents alone time with him, closing my double bedroom doors, so they could be with their son. Their youngest boy, who they obviously adored, who they spent so much time with, who had called his Dad his best friend.

There were angry words said too, but I always knew they came from being scared of a life without Nick, of feeling helpless. They cursed the hospital, his doctors etc. but the truth was, everyone had done all they could, this was inevitable.

I was at peace knowing we had done our best, Nick had confided to me, just the week before, that he was done and over it all. As heart breaking as it was, this was what he wanted too. He couldn’t fight it anymore, pancreatic cancer was going to claim his life.

Over the course of the day, he deteriorated, his waking moments were far and few between, his eyes were permanently half closed. Occasionally a faint smile would cross his lips, like he was remembering a moment in time. He no longer squeezed against my hand, acknowledging that I was there.

We didn’t know if he could hear us anymore, but we kept on talking, especially me, chatting to him like normal, laughing as I re-counted times we shared together and funny moments.  I think everyone thought I was mad that day, not falling into a heap, but it was all I knew how to do, I just wanted Nick to be reminded of all the good times we had, to go out in the most positive way.

It started to get late, Claudia our daughter was put to bed, our families were camped out around the house, no one was wanting to sleep. Mostly there was silence, but Nick was never alone, someone was with him at all times. A constant revolving door, as one person left his side to regain their composure and another took their spot. I bustled in and out, making sure everyone was comfortable, while stealing my moments with Nick.

It was important to me, that everyone had their alone time with Nick, I didn’t feel the need to hover over him constantly, he knew I was there and our families needed the closure.

And then night came, no one was wanting to leave, just in case, though I assured everyone that if they needed to go, I would call if anything happened.

Everyone kind of settled in for the night and  then it was my time alone with Nick. I lay down besides him and held his hand. I continued to softly talk to him about all the wonderful things we’d done together. He was not responsive at all, but I hoped that he could hear me still.

His eyes, though half closed, were transfixed on a spot on the ceiling, I started whispering to him, ‘if there is a light or something, go towards it, let go, we’ll be fine.’ I repeatedly told him, not to hold on for me, that Claudia and I would be ok, we had all the love and support in the world. I thanked him, for choosing me to spend his life with, for being the best husband, father, son and friend to so many. I promised he’d never be forgotten, hence this blog!

I talked on and on, promising to look after his parents and always include them in our daughters life, I spoke of all the things I thought he’d want to hear. I thanked him for all the lessons in life he had shown me and finally, I told him I loved him and would continue to love him all the years of my life.

It had been a long day, having arrived home at 10am, it was now early morning once more, the house was quiet, as mostly everyone had drifted off.

Nick was holding on, his breathing raspy and deep. I remember looking at our bedside table clock it was 4.50am. I was exhausted, I hadn’t drifted off to sleep yet and then I closed my eyes, for what felt like a minute, but was probably closer to 10.

I opened them again and just like that, I noticed he was gone. There had been no sounds, no changes.  I like to think he had waited til we were alone together, til there was silence and everyone was sleeping, til he took his final breath. I’ll always believe he was in control of when the time came.

I sat with him for a while, kissed him goodbye, closed his eyes and relaxed his legs. The doctors had warned me that he could be in this state for days or even weeks, I felt relief that he had only remained like this for such a short time, the relief extended to Nick not suffering anymore. It was over.

And then his last day came
One of my favourite shots, from Derby Day 2010

I walked calmly out of my bedroom and gave the news no one was ready for, “He’s gone’, I said and then the circus really began.

Thank you for reading along, stay tuned next week and i’ll begin with the aftermath of Nick’s passing.

Please keep sharing, liking and commenting, I love knowing your thoughts and how it leaves you feeling.

If it makes you grateful for all you have or makes you act a little kinder towards others, please let me know!

Til next week, Michela xx

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