Tag Archives: cancer

Nick in healthier times

8 years on…

Isn’t time weird??? I felt like I just wrote this post a few months ago and yet its been 12 whole months since I wrote this kind of post and also 8 years since Nick left this world. Crazy????

So, again if you’ve just stumbled across this, i’m Michela and I lost my first husband to pancreatic cancer 8 years ago today. You can read from the beginning if you like by clicking here.

Or if you’d like to read my previous posts and how the years have rolled by, you can click on any of the below you fancy:

7 years on

6 years on

5 years on

But back to the current year at hand, I still struggle to believe so much time has passed. But yet, I look around and so much has changed since 2011, so who am I fooling?

Nothing stays the same, we change, we evolve, we learn to live another day, month, year and before we know it, the time is passing. And just when you thought you couldn’t feel any better, you survey your life and realise it really is ok. The worst has passed and you didn’t even notice.

This has been my experience and I hope if you’re reading this, having just lost someone close to you, that you will feel the same way soon. And truthfully, the waves of emotion still come for me, but they are further apart and shorter in time. While i’ll never forget Nick (who could!) i’m just better at remembering the best of him and our memories instead now.

But, it’s taken time and recently we lost Nick’s mum and I felt like I went a little backwards. It’s still very raw and recent, and we have always stayed close since Nick passed, especially as i’ve been apart of his family for nearly 20 years. I do take comfort in knowing she is with her son and i’m sure making up for the past 8 years they lost together. They were so close, though she was never the same after he died, but she managed through life and soldiered on to the end, she had the same bravery I saw in Nick, the same determination and the same fight in her.

Nick and his mum
Nick and his mum

But, it inadvertently bought back so many emotions in me, that I had pushed to the far back of my memory. I started to re-live so much of Nick’s being sick and how difficult it was, including the day he passed and how my get it done attitude was really the disguise for my grief.

And while I’ve experienced people passing since Nick died, including my grandmother last year, this one hit a nerve, one that I thought was healed. I found myself crying both for my mother in law and Nick. Being in the same church, with the same priest and many of the same people was a trigger to my emotions. One I wasn’t prepared for, but completely understood where it came from. I just had to be patient with myself and allow the feelings to come and pass. Ones I probably didn’t allow myself 8 years ago. I was also emotional at seeing how far i’d come since sitting in that church all those years earlier. I was so scared of what the future held, not knowing what I was ‘meant’ to do next.

My husband John, has been my sounding board, he’s heard so many stories I had ‘forgotten’, as the memories came flooding back. Things I thought I forgot, flashed back in such clear detail, it was as though it happened the day before. I remembered conversations, what I’d wore and who was there etc. And shout out to John, for letting me talk it out and being by my side, as I started to feel like a ‘widow’ all over again. I don’t know too many partners that are content to be with their wives first family and to listen to all the stories from their past.

In my mother in law’s final days, I would sit and chat with her, she knew it was the end. I asked her to send some messages to Nick for me, mostly that I loved him and that I knew he was still around, and that i’d catch him on the other side. We spent time laughing and crying together. I kept my daughter home from school to spend one last day with her. I felt extra emotional knowing she was going to be with Nick soon and maybe even a little jealous, but I know it’s not my time, not for a long while yet.

And so on Nick’s 8 year anniversary, I know he’s happy. I know he’s still watching over us and keeping tabs on what we do. I still talk to him daily and ask his advice, I subtlety hear his responses. And I know he would be so happy with the way my life has panned out since he left. And through the trials that life has thrown at us, I know he’d be so proud of my ability to get it done and go about life.

I miss you Nick…. yesterday, today and all the years left in my life. And say hi to mum for me, I know she’s reading this along with you! xxx

Michela xx

7 years on….

Hey there, it’s been a quick minute since I last posted (actually like 10 months) but we’ll skip over that and i’ll just get to the point.

Today marks 7 years since Nick passed away. Yep, I know what you’re thinking, ‘already 7 years’, ‘that’s gone quickly’ and ‘why am i reading this, who’s Nick?’

Well, keep reading….

I won’t go over the same things I wrote about on his 6 years gone by post, you can read it by clicking here or what I wrote for his 5 year anniversary post, you can find it here.

And on the odd chance you just stumbled here, click here to know a bit more about Nick’s story.

I’ve spent time today going through the hours of footage Nick left us, going about his everyday life during his treatment and it’s after effects, to his monologues for our then baby girl, of what he wanted her to be in life, ‘kind, thoughtful, patient and beautiful, just like your mum’,  his own words, I swear!

Of course, she has become all those things and more, and she is way more beautiful at 8, than I could ever be!

On reflecting on the past 7 years, it makes me extra grateful to have these clips of him. They remind me of his being a perfectionist, with a video he filmed of himself trimming our garden hedge, his dedication to his work life with the many clips of him talking to his work mates and of course his love for us and our families, with so many of him talking about everyone and what they meant to him.

I’m grateful for these videos, for a selfish reason too, because i’m scared as the years go on, that my memories won’t be as sharp.

That I’ll forget about the time we first stated dating and he wore the dorkiest sandals to the beach, or the fact he secretly loved Britney Spears and would play her albums over and over in his car, or how complimentary he always was about what I wore and how vocal he was about what we ate for dinner.

The Funeral - The Final Goodbye - part 2
Nicks memorial card

Will I remember the names of his mentors from work who he spoke about constantly, wanting to emulate their career paths. He had such respect for those who had come before him, telling me he’d be just like them and better one day.

I’ll always remember the way he had of talking to you, when he was trying to get a point across. It was both parts demanding and motivating, all at once. Sometimes during these lectures, I’d zone out but gosh, I wish I’d recorded some of these chats to replay to myself now. Those are the things I wish I remembered verbatim.

Will I always remember the look on his face, when he told me about his terminal cancer diagnosis, unfortunately yes, that look still haunts me. His blank stare, trying to be brave, but holding back tears. The questions hanging in the air between us, with no answers.

Will I remember what his first car was, what his first pet’s name was, what his favourite memory from school was, what he wanted to be when he was a kid?

The many conversations we had over the years aren’t all stored in my memory, and after 10 years together and 7 years since he’s been gone, i’m getting a little rusty and it scares me.

Luckily, I have so many videos and photos of our time together, just one picture will take me back to that time in place, the start of a video will remind me of that part of our lives.

For as crazy as people thought it was to document his treatment, it has turned into the best memory I have of him. It’s real, honest and raw in every way, but it’s Nick in all his glory showing his strength and bravery when the world was so against him.

He is sorely missed, not just today but everyday. He is still spoken about, not just sometimes, but every single day and he is loved, not just while he was with us, but every day since he’s been gone too.

Thanks for reading along, til next time, whenever that might be?!?

Michela xx

 

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

 

 

 

 

Nick's Final Few Days

Nick’s Final Few Days

Today, i’ll focus on Nick’s final few days, you’ll find the beginning of this here, I did go off on a tangent last week and posted the footage of Nick beginning his video documentary to our daughter Claudia. Thank you to everyone for your beautiful comments and messages I received following my last post, it touched so many people, including those that have never met us.

So, if you’ll forgive me for a short time, I want to again move again from the sequence of events, and mention last night’s premiere episode of Offspring, Season 5. If you live in Australia, you’ll know of this, and you may well have seen it, as 868,000 of us did! I’ve always watched it, thanks to my girlfriend Cathryn and our Wednesday gourmet pizza and Offspring night, but only now has it resonated so much with me.

Watch the below clip for the overview of Season 5 if you haven’t seen this already, it’s me 3 & 1/2 years ago:

As per the episode last night:

1. Both Nina (the main character) and I lost our partners and were left with a baby girl to raise

2. Both returned to work 6 months after their passing, but were perfectly happy in the cocoon of home life with family and close friends.

3. Both hated the pity faces people gave you when you mentioned you were a widow, but also noticed how weird people acted around us, not knowing what to do/say

4. Scared of scarring my daughter when she was so young, have tried to keep her protected from anyone’s grief, always talking of happy times with her Dad instead.

4. I also pretended Nick was still with me at times in the early days, I still talk out loud to him now! Yes, Nick, that’s you i’m always talking to!

5. And I also asked myself many times, ‘Can I do this?’, be a single mum, raise a child, be me again ???

So needless to say, I cried last night, along with many others watching i’m sure, but it felt so real to me. without the maxi skirts and being a doctor part!. I’m not sure how it’s going to play out from here, but i’ll be watching and I’ll will be writing future posts about this time for me, let me know if you’d like to hear about it ?

On with Nick’s story:

Nick's Final Few Days
In healthier times, with Claudia at 2 months

Wednesday:

The operation was off. They told us Nick wasn’t going to be strong enough to survive the operation. They told us this could be the beginning of the end. They told us it might resolve itself, maybe.  But, Nick wasn’t getting any better, he’d barely eaten since he’d been admitted on the Sunday night, he was looking thinner than ever and was sleeping most of the day.

On Wednesday, he must have been getting nervous about what might be coming, he asked me to fetch his laptop for him, he wanted to jump online and look at our financial situation (he was crazy organised, remember?) but he just couldn’t remember his log in password, he tried so many times, he was locked out. He was angry, he threw the laptop off the bed, I caught it and tried to calm him down. It was the time, I think, he finally realised he wasn’t himself anymore. I tried to tell him it was all the medication fogging his mind. Of course, he couldn’t remember some stupid numbers, but he knew, he said, ‘Chel, i’ve been using the same password for 10 years, what’s wrong with me?’ Broke my heart, it was like a light bulb moment for him.

Our doctors that day, had pulled me aside to say he had a 50/50 chance of pulling through this, but not to get my hopes up just yet.

I’m grateful though that we had a very honest discussion that day, in a moment of clarity for Nick. We had always discussed were he wanted to be when the end came, but that Wednesday, I sat on the bed and we spoke again. He said, if the end comes, and you have the time to decide, take me home, don’t let me die here. I promised i’d do my best to make that happen, and we cried together with our baby girl between us.

Later that night, one of Nick’s best mates, Bill called me and asked if he could come past for a visit. I said no, he wasn’t up to visitors, he’d been inundated all day and needed his rest. Me just being all protective of him. I got off the phone and told Nick, he yelled at me, ‘tell him to come and bring all the boys, I want to see everyone, wives too.’ I sheepishly rang Bill back, apologised and told them to come in. And they all did, they filled his hospital room and for that short time, he was himself again, he joked and laughed, they shared stories and called each other ‘Dickhead’ a lot. I think it was his way of saying goodbye to them all, his best friends from primary school, who knew him so well, over 25 years of friendship with each of them.

Nick's Final Few Days
Nick’s last birthday 16th March 2010

Thursday:

Nick woke up and wasn’t well at all, the Doctors were in and out of the room, performing tests etc. I was starting to get more concerned, there was no improvement in his condition, but they weren’t saying much. I went about my day, draining his ascities and changing over his hot gel packs when they cooled to give him some comfort. (yes, walking right into the nurses station, like I was one of them. The nurses had also taught me how to continue his morphine drip when it kinked and stopped, to avoid that annoying beeping it made!) I was doing all I could to keep him comfy and to keep things as ‘normal’ as I could. Meanwhile, visitors kept coming, our daughter was bought in to hang out and all our parents and close family had been dropping in everyday, which is when I would quickly drive back to the apartment to shower and grab clothes.

On the Thursday afternoon, one of his good mates had come in and Nick had again turned on the charm and acted ‘well enough’, I walked his friend out to the lift area and said, ‘you know this is probably the end now, thanks for coming to say goodbye’, he broke down on me, this great big guy, just started bawling. He couldn’t believe what I was saying, we sat on the couch by the lift, as he composed himself, ‘Nick can’t die’ he kept saying, ‘he can’t’, he left in tears and I think it was my first taste of what was to come.

While Nick and I had been nothing but honest with everyone, telling them his cancer was terminal and would take his life, the reality of it was something different. I could understand everyone wanting to deny it, but it was my living reality, we were under no illusions.

That night our Doctor came to visit and wanted to speak to me alone, I said anything he had to say, he could say in front of Nick, who at this stage was doped up and drifting in and out of being aware. But, he told me to prepare for the worst, things weren’t going to get better. This was going to be the end for Nick and at this rate it was going to come sooner rather than later. He apologised for having to tell us that news, he had wanted to give us a happier ending.

We went to sleep that night, side by side in his hospital room. Not knowing my world was about to be turned on its head in less than 30 short hours.

I’ll leave it here, but will add a short note, I have been to a couple of functions in the last few weeks and want to say, if you are reading along and see me out, please come up and have a chat, I love hearing from you. I promise you won’t bring me to tears, I can talk about it all day, if I see you backing away slowly from me, i’ll know i’ve gone on too long!

And I love knowing your thoughts, so please continue to read, comment, like, share on Facebook,  you never know who might come across this and find some inspiration from it.

Til next week, Michela x

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.