Tag Archives: words to live by

My girls

6 years on..

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.

Til next time, Michela x


Being organised

There’s one thing about Nick you must know, it’s that he loved being organised. This included doing the best he could, to try and organise things for me, once he was gone. One of his many positions at Toyota was as a Corporate Planner and I guess the skills he developed there stayed with him (oh, and his excel skills he always bragged about!).

Most people can’t fathom the thought of knowing they’re going to die and not falling to pieces, but Nick, like with most things, just got about to organising instead.

Prior to his illness, we had a very traditional relationship, he paid the bills and handled the finances and i’d cook and clean, very 50’s housewife, I know! This also included, me spending 2 hours every Sunday ironing his shirts for the week, which his friends gave him stick for, saying it would be more time effective to send them to the cleaners, that he was being tight, but we were just happy playing our roles. I never complained, because it didn’t bother me.

Then came his diagnosis and Nick knew things had to change. He’d tell me I needed to sit with him and pay the bills, he had a spreadsheet he made, listing all the monies going in and out, so he was always ahead of what we needed etc. (if I had a dollar for everyone he tried to convert to use his spreadsheet, i’d be a rich lady! Did he try and push it on you?) He wanted me to study it, he’d say, ‘I won’t be here to do this for you next year, you better learn it!’

At the beginning, i’d zone out, tell him i’d learn it when he got really sick and I had to do it. But, he wasn’t buying my excuses. He scheduled lessons for me, how to pay bills, where to file them, what to do come tax time. It was exhausting, but necessary, and something I’m grateful for now.

I know this must sounds so silly to some of you reading, how could I have got to 30 and not known the basics of our household. It’s not something i’m proud of, but it just happened and it was easy and blissful not to be caught up in how much the power bill was!

But, I must stress, this is not the me now, i’m on top of everything. Being a strong, independent woman, means having responsibility and knowing how much money I have to spend each week on important things, like nail polishes!

Nick also left me a list, with 3 different examples of what I could do with our finances after he passed. It was him on a piece of paper. Knowing I was a little clueless at the time, he gave me a basic run down of what each option was, and how it could work for my daughter and I, both in the short and long term.

He found out exactly what superannuation he had, he made sure I was his beneficiary on forms, little things most people take for granted, he spent time double checking. He had everything covered!

Another example of his being organised, actually involves my Dad. My grandfather (or Nonno, as we called him), who Nick and I, were especially close with, passed away just after Nick’s diagnosis. Nick and my grandfather, basically had the same character traits. They say you marry a version of your father well, we always joked I married someone closer to my grandfather instead. As for Nonno’s funeral, on a side note, do not deliver the eulogy after your husband, (who the whole church knows has cancer), does his, you will come off second best!

Being Organised
Us with my grandfather at our engagement in 2004

My Dad had bought my grandfather his plot for the burial and Nick asked him to buy him one too, next to my Nonno, and he did. Even in the face of his illness, he still wanted to pick where his final resting place would be. Organised or what ? I must say, this was one part, I was thankful to not have had to worry about, at the time of his passing. That was always his intention, to make it as easy for me, as he could. Thanks Nick, I appreciated it!!

He was also constantly writing lists for me, anything that popped into his mind. He started carrying around a notebook and pen and he’d jot down things as they came to mind. I’ve put his last notebook away for my daughter to discover one day. Sometimes the lists were mundane things we needed to do during the day, but after flicking through it the other day, this page jumped out at me and the little note on the bottom with its smiling face said all it all, ‘Have fun always’.

Being Organised
Have Fun Always

It’s a reminder of what Nick would constantly say to me, we were lucky enough to share many conversations about his passing and what he wanted for my daughter and I once he was gone:

1. Take off your wedding rings once I die, (when you’re ready, of course!) He would tell me not to hold onto them for him, when it was time to take them off, he would understand.

2. Go back to work when you’re ready, don’t be rushed. If you don’t enjoy it, leave and find out what your passion is. He thought I had so many talents and could never understand why I never put them to use.

3. Don’t wear black for me. He hated the tradition of wearing black to mourn the dead and he never liked me in black. This was big deal for him, of course I did wear black to the funeral, but that was it and I did get in huge trouble with my grandma for wearing pink the day he died, they just didn’t get it. Oh well!

4. Don’t let other people tell you what to do once i’m gone. You’re in charge of you and our daughter and your decisions are yours alone. Nick had a fear that people would step all over me once he was gone and try and dictate my life. This is what encouraged me to become the new me. Strong, independent and in charge of my world.

5. Marry again, though you’ll never find anyone as good as me! Though I didn’t want to hear this at the time, he always said he wanted me to move forward in life and re-marry again. He wanted a father figure for our daughter and he didn’t want me alone the rest of my days, I was only 30!

I think it was easier to move on, knowing he gave me his permission to do so. I wasn’t looking for love when my new husband and I began talking again, 14 years after we first dated. And no, Nick, he isn’t a bit like you and that’s ok, he’s his own person and a wonderful addition to our world.

Being Organised
John & Me

and finally, I leave with you, 6. Have Fun Always! This was something he always said, he wanted us to enjoy life and all it had to offer. He even made me promise to take our daughter to New York when she’s 16, because we had enjoyed it so much, i’m not complaining about that one. It’s a date!

All Nick wanted was for us to live and love and be happy and it’s something i’ve tried to do everyday since his passing.

To try and see the fun in everything you do, makes for a better & happier life, in my humble opinion!

Til next time, Michela x