I am a writer but these are the hardest words I’ve ever had to find. How do you say goodbye to your best friend and husband, the father of your children, a beloved brother and brother-in-law, much loved uncle and friend to so many? So many lives touched by one.
During his recent treatment for renal cancer Nick was asked to fill in a form and write some interesting things about himself. He looked at Ellie and me and said ‘’What should I write?’ We looked at him in amazement. ‘But there are so many interesting things about you,’ we replied. ‘What about that you backpacked around the world for a year for starters? Or that you have a terrific serve at tennis that is infuriatingly hard to return? That you are a whiz at solving things?’ Ellie did also suggest that his dad-dancing with random-leg-movement was interesting – but he dismissed that.
We know that he was gentle, kind, thoughtful and compassionate because these are the words that you have used to describe him in your messages to us. But he was also clever, loyal, a true gentleman and in our family speak – an all-round good egg.
I want to tell you some things you may not know about Nick.
Nick’s family meant everything to him. He was our rock. He worked hard to provide for us and keep us safe. He was so proud of you Jo, Ellie and Harry. His loving kindness nurtured and guided you to become the wonderful young people you have grown into. You must take comfort that he will always be with you because he put the building blocks into your souls, showing you in his patient manner just how important it is to love and care for one another.
Nick was an engineer. He loved to solve puzzles whether it was a cryptic crossword or resolving a problem at work. He could always see the bigger picture and used this skill to guide us through our traumatic times. One winter when we ran out of oil for the boiler – in desperation I was at the point of volunteering to suck the end of the oil tube to draw the liquid through so that we could have heat again – but when I went into the utility I found that he had fashioned a marvelous device from an old vacuum cleaner, hose pipe, empty milk cartons and duck tape – lots of duck tape – that did the job perfectly. This was how he approached his illness. ‘Here is the problem – let’s find a solution and work towards it.’ Again he was protecting us and managing our pain.
Nick loved his garden. He took much pleasure in designing and shaping a beautiful garden for us to enjoy. Tending his veggie patch was his way of relaxing. Every year he would grow me sweet-peas because he knew they were my favourite.
We have had the happiest of family holidays, whether on the slopes skiing with dear friends or on the beach in Cornwall. He was our guide around the mountains and we would follow him without question – knowing he had considered the needs of everyone in the group and would get us back safely at the end of the day.
Nick was a brilliant cook. There was always a collective cheer when he went into the kitchen as we knew we would be getting a delicious sauce or interesting new recipe that he had discovered. It was tradition in our family that Nick always cooked Christmas dinner. He would spend the morning preparing and we would get a feast that always included, not one, but 2 types of stuffing as well as all sorts of delicious additions. It was our job to clear up the carnage left in the kitchen while he snoozed on the sofa afterwards.
Nick was a Parish councilor for 8 years, some of those as chairman. He felt strongly about this village that had welcomed us into its fold and wanted to give something back to the community.
I know we will all miss Nick for different reasons, whether it is on the tennis court or golf course, enjoying a beer together, discussing the problems about a job on site, providing the answer to a quiz question or simply just talking to him. Thank you for all you have given us, Nick. We are privileged to have had you in our lives. They have been immensely richer for it.
Nick’s last word to us was ‘goodnight.’ I know I was so blessed to have you as my husband. I can’t say goodbye to you, my darling, but I can say a last… I love you… goodnight.’
Nicholas Mark Williams ( Other Half) was diagnosed with renal cancer in April 2017. After surgery to remove a kidney he commenced a treatment programme but so sadly passed away at home, surrounded with love, during the early hours of 5th September 2017.
Our hearts are broken.