In the heart of Adelaide, Australia, resides a Greek-Australian author and poet whose words touch the soul and offer solace in times of pain and anguish. Doris Falidis Nickolas has poured her heart and emotions into her recently published book, "PIMATA," a collection of heartfelt poems that serve as a beacon of light for those navigating the darkest of days.
The inspiration behind "PIMATA" is a deeply personal one, rooted in the profound loss of Doris' beloved son, Angelo. Last June, Angelo's battle with bowel and liver cancer came to an end, leaving a void in the lives of those who cherished him. In the wake of this heartbreak, Doris turned to writing as a form of therapy and self-expression.
Doris' journey began long before the creation of "PIMATA." Born in Adelaide in January 1967, Doris grew up in a traditional Greek family, instilled with values of love, community, and resilience. Her parents, Eleftherios and Niki Falidis, immigrated to Australia in the mid-1960s, bringing with them a rich cultural heritage that would shape Doris' perspective and later inspire her work.
“My father is from Elassona, Larisa and my mother is from Palios Panteleiomonas, Central Macedonia,” says Doris.
“I grew up in a traditional Greek family background, with a strong cultural influence. We grew up going to name day parties and spent every weekend with cousins and family friends. I had the most loving and happy childhood.
“My first visit to Greece was in 1976 as a nine-year-old. My parents, (along with my two younger siblings) and I spent a memorable six months in their homeland. We met our grandparents for the first time and built strong long-lasting relationships with our Greek cousins, uncles, and aunties whom many of them we are very close till this day."
At the age of 17 Doris met her husband Jim to whom she has now been married for 37 years, raising four beautiful children.
“Our precious first-born Angelo was born November 1989, our second son Terry, January 1993, our daughter Alicia, July 1994 and our fourth child, Christo was born May 2001. Our pride and joy - all of them,” says Doris.
“Our children grew up surrounded by immense love and guidance from their grandparents and have created many countless special memories with cousins, uncles, and aunties. As well as close family friends.”
It was this strong bond with her family and a passion for storytelling led Doris to embark on a literary path. In 2010 an opportunity arose for Doris to visit Greece on a holiday. Upon the return to Adelaide after four incredible weeks in her parent’s homeland Doris was struck with the inspiration to write a book.
“Whilst in Greece, I was staying with my mother’s older sister in Neos Panteleiomonas and absolutely loved spending time with her, hearing the stories of the years gone by. The more she told me about my family and life in the village, the more I wanted to know," remembers Doris.
“I was in awe of the courage and resilience of the immigrants, more so the women who left the village at a very young age. So, I decided I was going to write a book containing stories of some of the women from Palios Panteleiomonas – who had left everything behind to start a new life in Australia.
“I worried if we do not keep these stories alive, they will be lost forever."
In 2016 Doris self-published her first book, "Life Has Two Doors." This work celebrated the stories of Greek migrant women who left behind their homeland to create new lives in Australia, preserving their journeys for future generations. The success of this book and the subsequent Greek edition, "Duo Portes Ehei i Zoi," solidified Doris' commitment to preserving the immigrant experience.
In 2020, Doris established the Facebook page "Hellenics in South Australia", providing a platform for sharing memories, stories, and nostalgia from the early migration days. The page quickly garnered a community of over 2000 members, connecting people through shared heritage and experiences.
Amidst this dedication to honouring her heritage, tragedy struck. Her son Angelo's diagnosis and subsequent battle with cancer shook Doris' world to its core. However, Angelo's strength and positivity became a source of inspiration for everyone around him.
“From the moment of Angleo’s diagnosis until he sadly passed away, Angelo kept going. A true warrior! He kept working, stayed happy and positive, spending time with family and friends – he did not give up, did not feel sorry for himself, never ever complained … ever. He had great hope he would pull through and beat this horrid illness – we all did! He was truly inspiring,” says Doris.
In the face of adversity, Angelo married his sweetheart, Stacey, and co-founded a real estate agency. His resilience and determination to live life to the fullest served as a guiding light for his family.
When Angelo passed away in June 2022, Doris' world was shattered.
“Our beautiful boy took his last breath Saturday June 4, into the loving arms of our Lord, Jesus Christ,” says Doris.
“There is not a minute in the day Angelo is not in our thoughts. He is with all of us, guiding and helping us move on with our days. And along with our beautiful daughter-in-law Stacey, we try hard to manage without our precious young man in our lives but the love we have for each other keeps us going – yet we miss Angelo so painfully.”
In her grief, Doris found solace in writing. The pain and emptiness she felt led her to pen her first poem, "A Mother's Love." This marked the beginning of a creative journey that would result in "PIMATA," a collection of poems born from a broken heart but imbued with hope and healing.
“It was a couple months after our Angelo had passed and I was sitting up in bed one night, looking through old photos and remembering Angelo as a baby. I was crying feeling so empty, yuk, an awful sense of pain I can not explain,” recalls Doris.
“I was only 22 years of age when Angelo was born – he was the first-born grandchild on both sides. I was thinking back to how I would hold and rock him to sleep every night. Then out of nowhere in my mind, I started reciting a poem. I got a pen and my notepad out and started to write down words - and in about ten minutes I had written my first poem. I called it A Mother’s Love.
“I would get my coffee and sit by Angelo’s beautiful photo we had on the dining table surrounded by an array of beautiful flower arrangements that were still arriving from people - it is where I talked with him and where I wrote. Derived from the depths of a shattered heart the words appeared on paper and another poem was written … I kept writing … and within about three months I had written well over thirty poems. I am still writing poems and am working on my fourth book at the moment. “
My new book PIMATA has been written in memory and in honour of Angelo. I want to be able to provide comfort to others who are grieving and let them know they are not alone during dark days.
Doris' determination to provide comfort to others in their moments of despair is evident in every carefully crafted line of "PIMATA." As she explains, "Though my soul may never be whole again, and I will continue to live with grief for the rest of my life, knowing I can help just one person in their time of despair through my poems, gives me a sense of warmth and contentment."
The release of "PIMATA" on August 15 is a testament to Doris' unwavering spirit and commitment to turning pain into purpose, providing readers with a source of strength and companionship during their darkest hours. Through "PIMATA," Doris has given voice to the universal experience of loss and has offered a guiding light for anyone navigating the tumultuous waters of grief. As her son Angelo's memory lives on, so too will the impact of Doris' words, touching hearts and bringing solace to those in need.
“Angelo lives in our hearts, and we will endeavour to live life to the fullest as he would want us to,” says Doris.
For your copy of PIMATA
'PIMATA' is now available for purchase through Dymocks Glenelg, Wildflowers Café at Centennial Park, and OpenBook Howden Design and Print Bookstore or online at: