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.
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.
But, what happened next, no one could have predicted. As I’ve always said, I’m so sure you had a hand in it.
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!
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.
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,
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!
Hello again and welcome to this week’s post, I know I keep saying this is going to end blah, blah, and it will very soon, but in the meantime, I just keeping having new posts ‘come to me’ and I feel compelled to write just one more, before the end.
Today i’m wanting to focus on the impression you leave behind and obviously that of Nick’s in particular.
I wanted to share something with you all, that just warms me from within and brings a smile to my face, no it’s not the fact the new OPI Christmas polishes are being released, can you ever have too many reds??
It’s that I received a very special email a few weeks ago from a family friend of ours, Rose. She had obviously met Nick, but only few times over the years and had prayed for our families upon hearing of his diagnosis.
Since reading along with this blog and hearing the stories i’ve shared about us, and more importantly highlighting Nick’s strength, it’s made her appreciate life and want to live out her own dreams.
This is an excerpt from her email to me:
…Although I did not know Nick personally very well, his and your story has had a big impact on my life in a really positive way.
Nick had so much to look forward to and yet was caught up in the whirlwind of cancer, while I am still here, still breathing, I realise it’s not right to waste life when it is such a gift with all its ups and downs.
So, it’s been something I have wanted to do for as long as I can remember that the charity Opportunity to Do, would have it’s own chain of Op Shops.
I have leased a shop in Whittlesea and would like to dedicate the shop in memory of Nick. The story of your family represents love, hope and unity in all that life brings…
Well, of course I was thrilled and sent my blessings right away for her to honour Nick in this way. I have sent her photos of Nick to put up in her store, which Rose will include alongside her beautifully written words about his story that she shared with me, ending with:
If you have a dream, go for it. It’s thanks to Nick and his story and journey that the dream to open this fundraising opportunity shop became a reality and is here today.
How beautiful is that?
To know that Nick and his story have influenced Rose in such a way, she is now living out one of her dreams.
On a side note, please support Rose and her store, Opportunity To Do, that opens this weekend at 23 Beech Street, Whittlesea, Vic.
You can find her Facebook page here if you want to read more about the organisation and the good work they do.
So, my point is this, what a wonderful impression Nick has left behind.
A life story, that though short, has compelled many to live a more positive life, to appreciate it, even with all the bumps and bruises along the way, to realise how short it can be, to live out your dreams.
Rose’s story is one of many I have heard whilst writing this blog.
Another friend has told me, that they keep a photo of Nick on their fridge since his passing as a daily reminder to be a better partner and parent, first and foremost.
I get regular emails from people who never knew Nick, from halfway around the world, that tell me since reading about Nick’s strength and love for his family, that they look at life differently, they are kinder to their loved ones and don’t sweat the small stuff anymore.
I think, no, I know, Nick would be thrilled hearing these stories, knowing that even in death, he has the ability to leave an impression and impact the lives of others, like he has mine.
Because as i’ve mentioned previously, (you can read about it here if you missed it) I am a changed person since his death, I appreciate everything so much more than I ever did!
Also for those that knew Nick when he was around, would remember he had a huge presence and was never a wallflower kind of guy. You always knew when Nick entered the room. (Of course, in his gym days, it was probably just because he had to walk sideways, just to get his arms through, am I right?)
Knowing this little blog has effected so many people, also leads me to believe this was just another part of ‘what had to happen’ following his passing.
That Nick’s story with all it’s determination, strength and love needed to be shared, so his life can continue to matter and make a difference.
But, you don’t have to be six feet under or have gone through some traumatic life event to leave an impression.
If you are kind and positive, if you don’t dwell on what can’t be changed, if you live a life filled with love, instead of adopting a ‘woe is me’ or a ‘what is wrong with me?’ mentality, then you will always leave your mark on others and believe it or not, it’s not that hard to do!
Before I go, I want to add one last thing,
I spent time with some of Nick’s work colleagues the other day, though they were more friends than anything else. We spoke at length about Nick, while my husband sat with us, I think they were amazed at how positive I still am and how wonderfully supportive my husband John is, listening as we swapped stories of Nick. Thank you John for being a real man, who’s not threatened by our situation. #loveyou #husband #insidejoke
So, til next time, which will probably, most likely, maybe not, be my last post….
Thanks for reading along, please write me if you have wanted to change your behaviour/attitude since reading along, or tell me about the impact and impression Nick may have left on you since his passing!