10 Years Gone
Today, 13th July, marks the tenth anniversary of the death of Nicola, my beloved wife. For those of you that knew her, you’ll know what a loss she was to the world – she wasn’t just someone that ambled through life, she grabbed it by the balls and made lifelong friendships wherever she went, winning them over with her ridiculous sense of humour and friendly nature – people couldn’t help falling in love with Nic.
As this is the tenth anniversary, I thought I’d commit some of my own memories to the digital world, either to make you smile, or to give me some sort of cathartic processing mechanism, hopefully both.
Some of you know ‘our story’, some don’t, but we actually went to school together, although I don’t think we ever passed one word to each other at school, all I can really remember is a non-school uniform day where she had a denim skirt and white stilettos (she loved those white stilettos – she was an Essex girl after all), but years after leaving school we were introduced again by our friend and that was that.
The first thing that struck me (apart from her waist-length blonde hair) is that she could drink … proper pints of Tetley, at a rate that would make me work for it as well – I’ve been known to have the odd drink. Funnily enough, I’ve met one other woman that could drink like that, she was also called Nikki. Hmmmm. Connection?
Her favourite colour was green – when choosing her car, she could have had a sh*t brown Vauxhall Nova (admittedly, not a great car, but …) but instead she plumped for the ‘vintage’ Morris Marina, because it was Green; all soft suspension, ‘pleather’ seating and the addition of a row of Snoopy air-fresheners stuck to the dash – all the way across. (Which one night when parked in Hull, someone managed to unlock her car, steal all the Snoopy’s and lock the car back up again).
She enjoyed fast cars and fast bikes, and liked to drive that way – even managing to park her Marina backwards through the smallest gap into a car park in the wet, and the speeds she managed in Vauxhall Corsas (sorry G) had to be seen.
And keeping with cars … she had the most awful taste in cars … the already mentioned Marina (ragged it to within an inch of its life), a Fiat Cinquecento (broke the engine), Suzuki X90 (crashed & hideous)
She had an ability to just instinctively know where she was heading (although she did manage to get lost in Leeds for a couple of hours) – whenever we’d go somewhere she’d be the alternative to Tom Tom satnav – Nic Nic and it was almost like she just felt the direction (use the force Luke) to be heading in.
She had courage and strength by the bucketload – competing the Race for Life barely more than a month before she passed, adamant that she’d be back at work at some point, writing a list of things to do when she was better, organising her friends lives while incapable of talking, sitting up or standing, taking a train ride on Snowdon whilst barely able to walk, just days before she passed … she did all these things, even now I sit here writing this, it brings me to tears just thinking about how damn strong she was.
Tyler is 13 now, I can see plenty of Nic in him and it makes me smile. Yes, I’m sad that he never really knew her, he only has vague memories and what other people tell him, we have plenty of photos up, and we talk quite often of her – he may not have known her, but he knows all about her.
I look back at these ten years, at everything that has happened, and whilst I may wish certain things to be different, I’m proud that Tyler has turned out the way he has, despite being put in some shitty situations … I’ve had a string of terrible relationships, some my fault, some not, but he’s coped with everything and is now happy.
I always said that you shouldn’t look backwards, for that’s the path to madness, but today, I look forwards, whatever that holds for me & Tyler, who knows, yes I still have some mental health issues, but there’s no more shitty relationships, no more worries over where we’re living, no more stresses with schooling … slowly but surely, we’re ticking off the negatives and working for the positives.
I’m not 100% right, but I’m at peace, and after ten years or more of fighting, that’s pretty good.