A widow on a world adventure is en route to Cork… with a cut-out of her dead husband
This is heartbreaking and lovely, all at the same time.
An Australian woman with Cork family connections has embarked on a trip around the world… taking a life-size cardboard cut-out of her late husband with her on the trip.
Speaking to PJ Coogan this morning on 96FM’s Opinion Line, Michelle Bourke, from Australia, explained that the idea arose after Paul, her husband of 25 years, passed away on May 20th, 2019.
Before he lost his battle with cancer, Michelle, who has two children with Paul and is step-mum to his two sons, promised Paul that she would take his photograph to all the places they had planned on seeing in their lifetime.
Still grieving, but determined to fulfil her promise, Michelle went and ordered the cutout, a 5’9 photograph of Paul taken on his wedding day.
As well as travelling extensively throughout Ireland, Wales and Scotland, Michelle has taken Paul to California, Texas, New York, Thailand, Paris and London.
After learning some valuable lessons with the first cut-out, which became tattered and grubby quite quickly, Michelle invested in a second one. This time it folds in three and fits into its own canvas bag for the journey.
Michelle says the only place she has run into issues is in New York, when security prevented her from entering the Empire State Building, stating that Paul was a ‘huge security risk’.
‘I chose to keep moving forward’
Michelle is due back in Cork on September 28th and has promised to visit the 96FM studios. She has already written a book about the experience called #TravellingWithCardboardPaul and is working on a second.
“Knowing that life does continue after you lose a loved one, it shows people I am still living.” Michelle told PJ.
“I could have died when Paul died but I didn’t. I chose to keep moving forward. I was keeping that promise to him that I was going to go travelling.”
You can listen to Michelle explain the epic journey on the 96FM podcast, available here.