Nirvana’s letter to ‘us all’:

” Having cancer doesn’t come with many perks. However, there are a few. One is the chance to tell people you care about that you love them and that you are grateful for their presence in your life. Another is the huge learning curve you go through. Being faced with your own mortality gives you perspective, lots of it. It aligns life and sets about creating order in the ‘what matters and what doesn’t department. Yet another perk is that people really listen to you because every word you utter could be your last one, I guess! So I have taken these three advantages and used them to write this letter to all the people who care enough about me to be here today. A letter to thank you and give you some advice.

And because these ARE actually my last words, I really hope that you will listen!

The first words of advice I’d like to share with you is not to wait till you are sick to tell the people you love that you love them. Even better than telling them, show them. Spend time with them. Write them little notes, buy them little thoughtful presents, surprise them, shower them with hugs and kisses and try and be there for them, no matter what it is they need.

Forgive. If there are people who have wronged you, and there always are, even if they have not shown remorse, forgive them anyway. Someone once told me that holding on to anger is like holding on to a hot piece of coal, waiting to throw it at someone. In the meantime it’s you who’s getting burnt. Let go. Forgive.

Put work in perspective. Yes we all need to work to earn a living, but not all of us need to work so hard. Work to live; don’t live to work. It’s not worth it. And it’s when you get sick that you realize how insignificant that ‘important’ report was. How further from ‘life or death’ that deal actually was.

Stop smoking. There is NOTHING good that we get from smoking. Only disease, bad breath, yellow fingers and a suppressed immune system. Quit. Today. When you leave this church. No excuses.

Love yourself. Love your self sick. Feed your body good stuff. Take exercise. Find time to do the things you enjoy. Every day. Try to dedicate 20 minutes a day to yourself, doing what you enjoy. Make yourself a cup of tea, put your feet up and read a magazine. Have a relaxing bath. Do some gardening. Go for a walk. Spend time with your pets. 20 minutes a day. It’s not a lot, really.

Do not stress. Yes you can do it. Stress is how we choose to react to the problems in our lives. I went through a period of extended stress before I got sick. I am sure, beyond any doubt, that this stress was a major contributor towards my illness. It’s just not worth it. No matter who does what to you or your family, don’t let it stress you. It will just make matters worse.

Trust your instinct. You know better. If you ever sense that something is wrong, make your doctors rule out your fears with tests, not opinions. Had I done that I would probably not be writing this letter and you would not be here bidding me farewell.

Connect with God. Now. Not when you need a miracle. Have faith. Believe in Him. Believe that even though you might not understand it, the universe is unfolding the way it should. He’s got it under control.

Count your blessings. Daily. I found so much more to be grateful for after I got struck with a terminal illness, it’s quite sad really. I always tell my children, life is not about what you have, but how much you appreciate it.

For you parents out there. There is nothing you will do in this life that is more important than bringing up your kids. They are the future, your legacy. Put that phone down. That message can be sent after they go to sleep. Close your laptop. Playing with your child is more important than seeing what rubbish everyone is posting on Facebook today. Enjoy them to the full, give them time, take in their beauty, learn from them, make beautiful memories with them. That is what will matter in the end. Tell them they are wonderful and special and show them that they are loved and valued.

So those are some pearls of wisdom from someone who learnt a lot about life while facing her death.

And now I would like to say some thank yous.

First of all, to all of you for being here. To all of you who have prayed for me, some on a daily basis. I can assure you these prayers were not wasted. They gave me much strength in my darkest moments. For all of you who helped in practical ways, financially and emotionally. To strangers for random acts of kindness.

To all my friends, you know who you are, for the constant flow of home-made food, outings for my children and foot rubs! You made the unbearable bearable and I will be eternally grateful. To my children’s godmothers Essa and Fran. When I chose you, I didn’t know it would come to this but I know now that I could not have made a wiser choice. Thank you girls. I pass on the baton with a happy heart and a peaceful mind.

To my wonderful parents who went through what no parent should go through with courage, strength and dignity. Words will never be enough to express my gratitude but I hope you know that there is nothing you could have done better. Thank you.

My soul mate Marius for enduring endless days and nights of torment, threats of being turned into a dwarf and other similar abuse. You know it was not me speaking because in my eyes you are quite simply perfect and I love you more than Charlie!

And finally my two heros. The reasons I fought so hard and the reason I would not let go. My dearest Sam and Noah. The bravest, strongest, sweetest boys ever. I know it was very very difficult to see mummy go through what she did but you two were amazing and I am so very proud of you.
I will be in your hearts every second of every day. I am with you constantly . But there are also many other people who love you and most of all there is Jesus, your protector. He was working through me to protect you, now he will work through daddy and nannu and nanna and Essa and Fran and all of mummy’s friends who love you so much.

I want you all to leave this church today with a renewed sense of life. Let not a day, an hour, a minute go by without being present and grateful for it.”




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25 thoughts on “Nirvana Ciavola Azzopardi letter to all of us

  1. What a truly inspirational woman, and what a great loss not only to her dear family but to the Maltese Community. I hope and pray that one day this dreaded disease will be erradicated. May you rest in peace Nirvana, God Bless You xx


  2. Thank you for sharing such precious words of wisdom. I think we all need to hear these precious words. May she rest in peace xxx She is truly an inspirational woman. xxx


  3. A great woman who really knew what life and afterlife mean! May you rest in peace and be of an inspiration for us all! In three weeks time I will go through a biopsy which might change my life! I’m starting to think how you thought a few weeks ago! Never met you though long ago you were my wife’s schoolmate, but please pray for us!


  4. What a brave and loving woman. May you rest in peace and may God look out for your family especially your two boys x x x


  5. may you rest in peace Nirvana and may god give courage to all who go through what you went through God added an other lovely flower to his garden


  6. I expercienced this with my dad when he passed away last year because of lung cancer. I have learnt a valid lesson to live life to its best and love and respect those who deserve it. Life has become to short for all of us to worry too much about all the negative there is around us. Always wake up with a smile and say thank u when its bed time. God Bless Her and to all the people that supported her all the way,I bow my head with respect


  7. This is what’s it all about , the genuine givng of love , the sharing , the helping of others , the laughs , the times we share ! To be grateful to God for what he has given us , to forgive , to cry& be strong the friendships , the family and to love our neighbour as we love ourselves ! Always reaching out to our fellow man in need with caring love!


  8. I am speechless. Wise words indeed. I should take into consideration a few of her suggestions. May God bless you. I feel SO sorry hearing about this news.


  9. It is such a tragedy to hear about the passing of such a wonderful person, whom even though I never met, but she managed to touch all our hearts and there is a lesson to be learnt for everyone. So to everyone out there, let us really live on by following her teaching and be truly grateful towards life and everything and doing it now instead of always waiting for another day to do so. Rest in peace dear Nirvana


  10. Let these words of Nirvana be an inspiration to us all.

    We are currently going through this with my sister-in-law. She is showing strength where others would break and cares more for others than herself; she, also, is an inspiration.

    It is a shame that we should be shocked into showing acts of love by such trauma. We are not present to its existence and yet it is all around us, everyday. We should all appreciate the loved ones and friends that share our lives. x


  11. So deeply moving. I have just read this beautiful letter (with some difficulty) to my husband. He was visibly very touched by your beautiful wife’s wisdom. God bless you and your lovely boys.


  12. What an amazing, beautiful woman. This letter will inspire us all and I’m sure that God will take care of you and your beautiful family.


  13. Nir. I will always remember you as a leader, crowd catcher, a very intelligent person, sincere and very funny and mostly very beautiful. we shared the same mutual friends and even the same likes for boys it seems:) the last time i met you I mentioned the stress that I pass through each day and you mentioned that you’re the same. thks for sharing these wise words with us although when I heard that you passed away I felt that now it’s may turn to slow down. until we meet again dear):


  14. What wonderful, genuine, loving words of wisdom! How right she is in saying that we should cherish every moment and not worry about silly, insignificant things in life! Nirvana, you are a shining example!


  15. May you rest in peace …. never met you in person ,but followed you on TV ………read your letter ….very touching…. what a beautiful person you are inside a and out ….that is what real love is about we have a lot to learn from you . Life is so short and we all take it for granted, your letter really touched me ……and we should all be gratefull and thank God every day .Thank you for your lovely wise words and may god bless you and your family …rest in peace beautiful lady and ry for us !


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