Who was Nicolas ?

His birth

Nicolas was born on 26th February 2001. He weighed 3.3 kg and was hairy. He had the umbilical cord around the neck, which frightened us a lot but he coped successfully. Once the fear gone, we realized that he wasn’t very handsome, with his frog feet and a bump on his forehead… But we were so delighted he was going well ! Then, the time didn’t stop making him increasingly handsome. On 18th July 2001, at the age of 5 months, we got scared again. He contracted the adenovirus. The virus doesn’t usually have any serious consequences. However, his bronchi were affected and we almost lost him. Irony of life: he died exactly 19 years later.

A fun-loving and joyful philosopher

Nicolas was quiet as a baby, but as he grew up his imagination and his joie de vivre thrilled us. He loved clowning around, both at home and at school. The comments written in his report cards all are testimonies of it… When I picked him up at internships, the instructors kept asking me to let him stay a bit longer because he was capturing his audience’s attention with his stories. Everyone who would approach him would snap for him. He knew it and used his charm to reach his goals. For example, he suggested us gifts for his brother’s birthday. Those were gifts that interested him as well; to kill two birds with a stone, he said. He was able to influence the people around him.

Nicolas had a seductive side, but never used it to hurt people. He had a big heart ! He was gifted to surround himself with good friends. These are still loyal to him today, even after he disappeared. Friendship has always been a priority in his life, but it never prevented him from being stubborn or from not having any complexes. Once, he had organized a night in the woods with his friends. But as soon as night fell, he left the group to end it up comfortably at home…

His joking side didn’t prevent him from going through a mystical period. At 8 he decided he would become a priest ! His dad being a bit worried about it, I used to tease him, saying that Nicolas was an ambitious boy and that he would become a pope ! Fortunately, it didn’t last long. But he did still remain philosophical and often asked himself existential questions. Curious of everything, he asked loads of questions! His friends called him “Doc Gigot” because he always had a point of view to share.

Bubbling over with imagination, Nicolas always had a lot of projects – slightly crazy sometimes-. For example he wanted to create 3-sock packs, “because one always gets lost”. Nicolas was observant, perceptive, as well as dreamy. One day, I disguised myself in Santa Claus. He didn’t believe it, while being younger than his brother.

A well-defined personality

Nicolas was a very natural and honest kid. He expressed himself the way he felt it. I remember an anecdote that happened in kindergarten (Year 3). One day, he lowered his pants and pooped in the middle of the playground. Just like that. The mistress told me about it. When she asked why he had done that, he simply answered: “But animals do get the right to do it!”.

All I could think of to say to the lady was, “Did you tell her to say ‘animals’? When he was a teenager he told me that the wrinkles I had around my eyes were not good-looking. It was sometimes needed for us to be able to swallow our pride …

He was joyful and smiling, but could also become angry. When he got mad, he kneeled, put his hands on his head and hit it on the floor. He was also punched instead of one of his friends, but he was never violent. He hated both conflicts and fights.

Nicolas was sometimes a real daredevil. He loved climbing everywhere, to the point where, aged 4, he disguised as Spiderman and jumped from the balcony to fly. He ended up at the hospital, which didn’t calm him down, though. Playing was central in his life. When I crossed the street with him, I used to tell him to look left and right properly. He asked me how many lives we had. Only one, unfortunately.

Books and Music

Our son loved telling stories since childhood. At 14, he started to write a book he had entitled “Nature’s rights”. ”. He left it out after four chapters, but shortly before he died, he had told me he intended to take it back. Unfortunately, he didn’t have the time to write again.

Music was also very important to Nicolas. At 6, he sat down at the piano and invented melodies on his own. He was so gifted I was suggested him to be taught solfege. Nicolas had told me: “I’m dreaming of being able to play the piano”. But of course, solfege is rigorous and he quickly got bored. He didn’t go on. I remember he was talking about it again shortly before his passing. I replied that he couldn’t do everything. Adding music to sport, studies, etc. would have been difficult.

Talking about personality, we need to admit that Nicolas was very messy. When I brought him laundry in his bedroom, he used to “tidy” it in his cupboard – making a ball with it. As far as material aspects are concerned, he appeared rather casual. Objects were worthless and he didn’t pay attention to his stuff. For example, he didn’t lock his bike (that was still quite expensive). Nothing was ever serious or significant to him. His favorite sentence as a child was indeed “Never mind!”. I also remember him sprawling onto the sofa. He was unable to sit properly.

“He never hesitated to cheat while playing Uno or Rummykub. A lot of people remember it.”

Fortunately, Nicolas didn’t smoke or drink. The very few times he succumbed temptation of alcohol, he went for whisky only.

Nicolas didn’t like losing. He was an honest boy… when it suited him. He never hesitated to cheat while playing Uno or Rummykub. A lot of people remember it.

As he grew up, Nicolas created his own identity, regarding clothing amongst others. He surprisingly dared mixing different styles (same with food). He wasn’t afraid of being ridiculous, which he consequently never was. . But his strong personality was sometimes a shell: he laughed at everything, even at what hurt him. His great sensitivity was hidden by his sense of humor. Nicolas was able to express his love to others: brothers, friends, parents, etc. He loved being hugged or scratched. He was a sweet boy.

At school, Nicolas had genuine skills, but he was scandalously lazy. He did as little as possible, which didn’t prevent him from succeeding! He spent his six first years in the primary school Saint-Michel; he then studied four years in the Athenée Royal of Esneux, and spent the two last ones in Sainte-Véronique. Finally, he went to the EGC in Bourg-en-Bresse to follow university studies in economics.

Nicolas and Rugby

Nicolas was interested in various things, like trains, books, reading, music, etc. One day, I told him about rugby. It had been two years I was thinking he was done for that sport. Why ? Because I had noticed that Nicolas was able to bear the pain. Once, he violently hit his head and got an egg-sized swelling on his forehead ! As usual he said: “Never mind”. He was also able to walk on burning sand without feeling anything.

Besides, rugby transmits values close to his heart, such as family or friendship. He was a robust young man who loved to play collectively. At 9 years old, he was already strong. He took part in sports internships and got involved in that sport.

Nicolas first started in the Standart Club Chaudfontaine, and then joined the training centre Le Blanc Gravier, which was a champion pool at that time. He trained a lot to integrate the centre because only few sportsmen were chosen. In 2019 he played at the ASUB in Waterloo where he represented Belgium. He ended up second. He also took part in the European Championship for under 18s in Kaliningrad, Russia.

Then, Nicolas wished to join a prestigious rugby academy in Scotland. But his dad, who had been experiencing rugby for 4 years by proxy, wanted his son to start a “pro-rugby” career. Nicolas’s dad managed to make him take two detection sessions, one of which took place in Bourg-en-Bresse where he was accepted. Nonetheless, Nicolas was realistic and knew he also needed to study. I talked a lot about it with him and he agreed. He eventually joined Bourg-en-Bresse to please his dad.

But he felt sad, questioned himself a lot, and above all didn’t feel like going. He was close to cancel several times… He was close to cancel several times…

His dad will be surprised to read this; Nicolas never revealed his true feelings. However, his love for his dad overtook everything.

Fortunately, he immediately loved his club USBPA and the atmosphere during his university studies at the EGC.

He never regretted his choice. On the contrary.

In November 2019 he got a cup dedicated to the favourite of the OMS 2019 podiums.

To me, this cup is the most beautiful of all. If it doesn’t represent a physical achievement, it stands for Nicolas’s values.

Nicolas will have played rugby for ten beautiful years. One day, I drove him to a match but I was sad because I needed to leave immediately and couldn’t watch him. He told me: “You know, mum, I’m where I am today thanks to you. Thanks to you only.” I was so proud. It was a beautiful statement. He was 18. I was happy to hear it from him because I kept juggling for years between my three kids (who each practiced a different sport) and my work. I spent my time driving them all over town. Nicolas did realize my commitment and thanked me. I was so heartened. Later his friends reported me that Nicolas had told them about his compliment to me.

Nicolas allowed himself to cheat when playing games, but he was generous and honest when doing something which was very important to him. He devoted considerable efforts to find donators (Australia included) in order to fight prostate diseases and committed himself a lot to the AINVICTUS (finding sponsors to help financially the handirugby).

Today

I miss Nicolas. Everyone misses Nicolas. A lot. But I want our misfortune to be turned into something positive. Nicolas was joyful, imaginative, full of life and empathy. I believe he would be proud the Foundation named after him to undertake slightly crazy projects to help people in need.

Nicolas’ little phrases

Here are some of Nicolas’s child sayings, which made me laugh a lot. Today, I’m feeling like sharing them with you; they will tell you a lot about who he was.

October  2003 : Nicolas loved watching « Dora the Explorer ». and thought her magic formulas would work in real life. One day, when desperately trying to open a colours box, he stretched his arm and said « Open – open », like his favourite character. Unfortunately, what worked with Dora didn’t work with his box…

November  2003 : « A dice is a Dalmatian’s poo ». « The garden gnomes are Santa Claus and White Snow’s babies ». Senseful…

October 2004 : He was watching the dvd’s for kids in our shop called Caroline in Tilff and told Christelle: “Later all that will be mine because I’ll marry mum”.     

November 2004: Nicolas was having a walk with his grandpa, who told him : “We’re lost; we can’t find grandma or Lucas”. Nicolas, showing Child Focus’s badge sewn on his coat, answered: “We need to call!”.

“When grandpa was young, I was old and I drove him to school.”

September 2005: Nicolas has set up a short ritual. When he said “Hands up!”, we all raised our arms and he ran towards us to hug. 

November 2005 : His grandpa was playing around with one of Lucas’s toys. Nicolas told him : « Don’t play with Lucas’s toy because he’s going to see you’ve been playing with it; and even if he doesn’t see it, I’ll tell him ! »

January 2006 :I was explaining my two eldest sons that their little brother would be very small.

  • Nicolas said: “Lucas will hit the baby.”
  • Lucas said: “No, I won’t ! A baby is so cute.”
  • Nicolas replied: “I am cute; I’m called cute kitten!”

They asked themselves loads of questions while I was pregnant  

  • Nicolas : “ Do you have a bed in your belly ? ” »
  • Lucas :  “No, she doesn’t. She has got a swimming-pool.” 
  • Nicolas:  “He’s going to be cold.  Was I cold in your belly?”  
  • Lucas:  “He’s being in water; he’ll have wrinkly hands when he’ll go out; he’ll be all wrinkly.”  

A bit later :

Nicolas:  “I didn’t do anything wrong; I didn’t get the time to !”   

To name Wednesdays afternoon : “It’s a half-school day : tiny tiny tiny day!”  

September  2006 : Lucas and Nicolas were helping their grandpa. They were handing him logs in order him to put them in the car. Nicolas noticed how  hard it was and  said:  “It’s hard to burn wood!”

November  2006:  Nicolas was watching Sacha and said: “I’d like to have another baby!”.  I replied that he would have as many babies he’d want to later. Nicolas said:  “Yes, I’ll buy a wife; where to buy a wife ?” Nicolas said :  “Yes, I’ll buy a wife; where to buy a wife  ? ”

Later :

  • Nicolas:  “I’ll live in a house;  I’ll ask my godfather to build me one.” 
  • I replied: “ You’ll build it  yourself. ”
  • Nicolas:  “No,  I won’t.  I could hurt myself with the hammer!” 

Later again, in 2007: Nicolas explains that his brother didn’t get anything because he acted like a  “pharaoh”  (instead of “ boaster ” – *those two words sound similar in French)

September 2007 : Nicolas was playing with his Game Boy. His grandpa asked him if he could get explanations about the game. Nicolas answered:  “ No, it’s too violent. ”

According to Nicolas, Lunch Garden is the best restaurant in the world. He also said that his dad was rich because he often moved.

After having taking part in a flute contest,  Nicolas said: “I did better than Maëlle. Would I have been alone, I would have finished first.” 

We put the recycling paper and cardboard in boxes on the pavement. Nicolas saw the boxes and exclaimed: “ Mum,  the postman has delivered a package!”. 

One day, he found some money on my nightstand  and shouted :  “I found a treasure!”. 

I told him that he had frog legs when he was born, and that I called him “my little witch ”  because he had a bump on his forehead.   Here is what he replied:  “It’s Lucas’s fault:  he shut the door and I stayed in your belly.” 

2008
I was asking a friend whether she had sold her “Beethoven” shares. Nicolas, who was seated on the rear  car seat, said: “ Oh no, don’t sell them. I do love Beethoven! ”.  He was thinking of the dog in the film, of course.   Lucas, in his role as a big brother, replied that  Beethoven was a musician. 

Two blackbirds were arguing in the garden. I explained that they were fighting for their territory. Nicolas immediately  opened  the door  and shouted to the birds: “ It’s OUR territory! ”

Nicolas had received a reward in primary school (a “white card”). He was crouching, looking for his coat in the hall. The headmaster kneeled to speak to him. Nicolas gave him a kiss!

2011
Nicolas was talking  about  receiving  his  First  Communion and  said: “I’ll have a snack”. I asked him if he was talking  about the communion  wafer. He answered: “Yes, I do. You can eat it.”

2020

Every year since 2015 we wrote a letter to ourselves and we read them each together on New Year’s Day. He wrote his last letter a few days before he turned 19.

Nicolas's favorite phrase:
« Nevermind! »
He was right!