Farewell to my lovely Frenchman

It is time to share with you that my darling husband, Olivier Foubert died peacefully on Friday, May 11,  after a 16-month journey with advanced prostate cancer.  One of my Facebook friends wrote that I was so privileged with “the main event of life”, which she says is to experience love at a deep and committed personal level.  Indeed, ours was a warm, sensual, companionate love which filled my emotional needs and he made me very happy.

My eight-year life with Olivier has been a wonderful dance.  He was such a charming man in every way  – a loving, witty, intelligent gentleman, who was brave and courageous to the end.    When I began writing about the impact cancer had on my life, I couldn’t comprehend that it would snatch him from me. My name means hope which perhaps explains why I dwelt in hope for so long. Our time was still filled with incredible moments of joy – our exciting Seachange to Hindmarsh Island, building our new home, moving back into this amazing new living space, establishing our garden, hanging our art collection and entertaining our friends and family in the Alfresco.

Sitting on his desk right now are two special bottles of French red wine consumed in our celebration of life – a Domaine Borie de Maurel, Vendanges 2006 and a 2009 Grand Vin de Bourgogne, Francoise and Denis Clair Cote-de-Beaune Villages.  The last bottle was so special because it triggered memories of our few days at the beginning of vintage in Burgundy.   Olivier first took me to France in 2004 and the memoir I wrote about it, From France With Love, became a best-seller.

It was the Beatles who sang “Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans”.   Our many dreams are now dashed. Instead of many years of retired living, we have faced Olivier’s deteriorating health.  For our tribute at his funeral, I chose the song Dancing To The End of Love, which reflected our life together. Which leaves only one last thing to say – Farewell to my lovely Frenchman Olivier.  Au revoir. Rest in peace.

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31 Comments to “Farewell to my lovely Frenchman”

  1. By Lena Thumm, 23/05/2012 @ 10:08 am

    Dearest Nadine, It is with great sadness, I read your post. I only meet Olivier on a few occassions, but the smile you carried in your heart of the love you both shared lite up a room. I send you love strength in this very sad time. Regards Lena Thumm x

    • By Nadine Williams, 30/05/2012 @ 10:16 pm

      Thnkyou so much Lena. We loved that night at your chateau – yet in retrospect, he would have had prostate cancer even then, we just didn’t know.

  2. By Angela Tolley, 23/05/2012 @ 10:48 am

    Dear Nadine

    Neil and I send you our warmest wishes and condolences. I hope you have plenty of support from your friends and family to help you through this horrendous time. Your choice of farewell ode could not be more perfect. I’m sure Olivier will be there for you in spirit for some time yet. I guess you just grab onto that thought, and the sweet memories … warmly, Angela (Tolley)

    • By Nadine Williams, 30/05/2012 @ 10:17 pm

      ManythanksAngela, I willcontinue to try to learn to speak French and his spirit will rejoice when I finally make it! Hewas such fun….kind regards, Nadine

  3. By Penelope Herbert, 23/05/2012 @ 12:49 pm

    Dear Nadine,

    My heart goes out to you; I was so sorry to read of Olivier’s death. I hope you can find some solace in your writing and through sharing your life with him with your readers. It really is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all, even if that loss is through death. I feel sure you would rather have lived the past eight years with Olivier than without him. Thank you for sharing your heart with us and I wish you much happiness through your next adventures. You will always have your memories of Olivier, may they continue to warm you.

    Sincerest condolences, Penelope

    • By Nadine Williams, 30/05/2012 @ 10:18 pm

      Thankyou Penelope. I havae learnt to makeevery minutecount and we sure did in his last 16 months of life. thanks fofr your comment. I appreciate your thoughts, too. Nadine

  4. By Dominique, 23/05/2012 @ 4:49 pm

    Thank you so much writing this Nadine, it got me right to the heart. I will be missing Olivier, his humour, his intelligence, his friendship, his everything….
    Olivier, de là où tu es je sais que tu nous vois et que tu nous entends et je voudrais te dire que déjà tu nous manque. Ainsi va la vie, ceux qui partent entrent dans un espace tout nouveau et ceux qui restent n’ont pas d’autre choix que de se souvenir et d’êtres émus.
    Chao mon pote, je suis sûr que tu vas savoir trouver une place là-haut.

    • By nadine williams, 23/05/2012 @ 11:08 pm

      Dear Dominique, You will need to translate the French but one thing I know Olivier certainly has found a place “on high”. He was at peace spiritually when he passed away and without pain. I get the gist of it and I agree. He always said we were dconnected by radio waves and his spirit lives on. He is here in this housem, here with me in his study and I will always think now what would Oli think about this or that? And his wisdom will be added to my own whatever life throws up. Nadikne

  5. By ralf Pidet, 25/05/2012 @ 4:27 am

    Dear Nadine, it’s full of tears in my eyes that i wrote those words…
    Oliver was all you have said… and more with you…it was a pleasure to meet you with him.
    kises from France
    Ralf Pidet

    • By Nadine Williams, 30/05/2012 @ 10:20 pm

      Dear Ralf, Thankyoufor your thoughts on my website. It is always sospecial to receivesomething so preciousfrom so far away. My eyes have shed a reservoir of tears, too. He was such a great bloke and to you, a great godfather. Cheers, Nadine

  6. By Anne Petch, 05/06/2012 @ 7:37 pm

    Dear Nadine,

    I am forwarding a quote that has always sustained me in the saddest moments of my life and hope that it is of comfort to you also.

    It reads ………..

    “COURAGE looks you straight in the eye. She is not impressed with power trippers.
    Courage is not afraid to weep and she is not afraid to pray, even when she is not sure who she is praying to.
    When she walks she makes the journey from loneliness to solitude.
    The people who told me she was stern were not lying; they just forgot to mention she was kind.”

    J.Ruth Gendler

    Take care on your journey,

  7. By caroline nin, 15/06/2012 @ 1:18 am

    Dear Nadine,

    It is very sad news, I have just found out that Olivier had passed away back in May. I am so sorry and sending you love and courage from Paris. What a beautiful and moving obituary you have written for him. All i can say is that you have been given the chance to know true love and God knows this is not given to everyone on this planet. I am sending you hugs and love and wishing you all the best courage to go through this difficult time.



    • By nadine, 15/06/2012 @ 8:23 pm

      Der Caroline, I am very touched to receive your kind message. It’s a month now, so the well of tears is waning but I still have such a heavy heart and feel quite empty emotionally without him.
      Kindest regards, Nadine.

  8. By Felicity Rai, 16/06/2012 @ 1:39 am

    Dear Nadine,

    I was in FMC for major surgery for over two months (not cancer). I am now home and recovering well. I just read the sad news about the passing of Olivier at the end of May. Please accept my sincere condolences and friendship. I am sure you will have many, many happy memories of the wonderful times shared together to sustain you in this time of grief.

    Take care, be kind to yourself.

    Best wishes,


    • By nadine williams, 17/06/2012 @ 8:58 pm

      DEar Fel;icity, Many thanks for this kind message. As you know, we went to the French Film Festival, that was the laslt public function we attended together, but unfortunately he had to leave hafl way through the film. He managed OK at home or hospital until the last month or so when I cared for him at home. He had a peaceful death. Did you see the obituary?
      Kind regards, Nadine.

      • By Felicity Rai, 17/06/2012 @ 11:55 pm

        Dear Nadine,

        I did indeed read the beautiful and moving obituary you wrote for your dearly departed husband Olivier Foubert.

        Sentimentally yours,


  9. By Carol Haslam, 22/06/2012 @ 8:37 pm

    Dear Nadine

    I’ve just learned of Olivier’s death – and my heart is with you. Such a lovely man and such a beautiful relationship you had. I can imagine how empty you must be feeling. Courage is not always easy to find at such times, so I wish you courage. Eileen Caddy says ” Realise that you cannot help a soul unless that soul really wants help and is ready to be helped. I tell you to send that soul nothing but Love and more Love. Be still and wait, but be there when that soul turns for help.”

    Sending you Love – and waiting for you when you are ready.


  10. By Christine Watkinson, 25/06/2012 @ 1:34 pm

    Dear Nadine,
    We have just come back from overseas and have heard of the loss of your beloved Olivier. It is so sad that you only had eight years together, but it sounds like they were eight wonderful years – full of love and laughter.
    It must be very hard to move forward from such a tragedy, but I have no doubt that your memories of the love you shared will help to give you some comfort.
    My thoughts are with you at this sad time in your life.

    • By nadine, 25/06/2012 @ 2:42 pm

      It is so nice to hear from yhou Chris. I HAVE BEEN absolutely devastated and weep quite a lot in mourning. Greif cannot be switched off like a tap I find. But there are little rays of sunshine peeping through the dark skies now and Serena is coming over this Saturday for a week.
      Kindest regards, Nadine.

  11. By Roy and Pamela, 30/06/2012 @ 5:48 am

    Dearest Nadine, we have now left Paris but we did light a candle for you and Ollie at the Church of St Augustine. and then odered a glass of fine french wine at the Circle des Armies and toasted him and also that you may find a peace in your mind and heart with precious memories of your much love Frenchman.
    Pamela and Roy

    • By nadine, 30/06/2012 @ 8:18 pm

      How wonderful that you have looked up my web in Paris and left such a lovely message. There are other messages from Paris, too below, incluidng one from French canteuse Caroline Nin.
      See you very soon now, Nadine.

  12. By Lucy Graywoolff, 08/07/2012 @ 5:02 am

    Hi Nadine,
    thanx for your recent email. I will certainly seriously consider mailing you some of my work if you wish …several have been published over the last years.

    Commiserations on the passing of your dear husband…cancer is such a dreadful disease…….I myself am suffering from breast cancer for the past year this July; unlike you however I own to little support which your partner obviously owned to………..which in turn makes one feel dreadfully isolated in the extreme.

    Glad to make your acquaintance……..went via into your website (as you can tell) ……I keep mislaying my password for ‘Linkedin’…silly me.
    Please keep in touch,

    Warm regards,

    Lucy GW

  13. By Diana Jaquillard, 09/07/2012 @ 11:44 am

    Dear Nadine,

    Being a literary person like yourself really helps I think, to verbalise your feelings and work through the grieving process much better than someone who can’t summarise and rationalise their emotions in words.

    Keep writing your thoughtful blogs, take care and very warmest regards,

  14. By Lauryn Arnott, 09/07/2012 @ 8:11 pm

    Dear Nadine,

    I enjoyed your obituary! You have been in my thoughts these past few months. I remember when I first met Olivier he came to collect you for and ANSAC parade, he was dressed in his North African uniform. He was exotic and charming.No wonder you were inspired. You indeed are blessed, and you have been so strong. My condolences he was a true gentleman. Best wishes Lauryn

  15. By Annette Bratkovic, 09/11/2012 @ 9:20 pm

    Dear Nadine
    I am so sorry for the loss of your dearly loved husband. I have just read your article in “the advertiser boomer”& felt our closeness without knowing you. In March this year my beloved husband was diagnosed with stomach cancer. He passed away on 19th July 2012 aged 49.
    I have been on the same grief path struggling to come to terms with life without my best friend but thankful I have our two beautiful daughters in my life.
    My thoughts are with you.
    Warmest regards, Annette

    • By nadine, 11/11/2012 @ 8:19 am

      Hello Annette, My heart goes out to you. I know your pain and I don’t think I could have coped with losing Olivier even one day less than the 16 months we had together. I have two beautiful daughters too and a wonderful son – all of whom have supported me . You are so young to be a widow and my advice to you is enjoy your daughters, they are indeed a wonderful legacy of your marriage. Kind regards, Nadine.PS> I shall put you on my web distribution list to keep in touch. (I write for people aged over 50, so you may be a little young judging by your husband’s age.

      • By Annette Bratkovic, 11/11/2012 @ 10:08 am

        Thank you so much Nadine that would be lovely. I have just turned 50 so I guess I now qualify!

  16. By Amanda, 25/03/2013 @ 6:29 pm

    Have just started your book unable to put it down. It was given to me by someone you use to work with @ the Advertiser 🙂 i thought i’d google u only to find this site & to my very saddness see of your loss. I will savour every page that is left of this inspirational book as i am 55 years young & sadly missed out on love. I too often quote John Lennon “Life is what happens to you while your busy making other plans”. Bless you maybe i will find a few years of love & life yet. Regards Amanda xox

  17. By Judy Kemp, 24/02/2014 @ 1:49 pm

    Dearest Nadine, I am so sad for your huge loss, but know that the love that others saw with you and Oli set a high benchmark for themselves (including me). I witnessed such a wonderful relationship at many of Alain’s celebrations. Sending you love and thanks for seeing your delight, Judy Kemp (Lovell)

  18. By Federico, 19/06/2016 @ 4:16 am

    Right away I am going to do my breakfast, after having my breakfast coming
    over again to read further news.

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