Losing the person she shared her life with for 60 years has not been easy for Violet de Marco, but in the past year she has found solace in family and people who approach her with anecdotes about her husband.

“Having a close-knit family has undoubtedly helped me in this difficult year. But people from different walks of life, that to this day walk up to me with some story or other about Guido, has given me solace as well,” she recounts.

Former President Guido de Marco died on August 12 last year at the age of 79, just hours after telling The Times he had been “born again” when he seemingly recovered from critical illness.

Prof. de Marco died in his sleep after losing the battle he had been fighting for a week since developing complications before undergoing a heart procedure.

“Today, a year since his passing, I appreciate Guido’s outlook on life much more, what politics meant to him and why he would always want to give his best in any role he involved himself. I understand much more why he felt it so important for him to be close to people,” Mrs de Marco tells The Sunday Times.

She spares a special word of thanks for former President Eddie Fenech Adami with whom Prof. de Marco shared “so many difficult, yet interesting years”.

“Eddie has been close to the family throughout this year despite the hard times he himself was going through with the loss of his wife Mary, who was such a splendid woman,” she says. Violet and Guido met as students, and he had proposed to his wife-to-be with the words, “Tixtieq tkun tiegħi?” (Do you want to be mine?), on February 5, 1951, as he walked her home from Valletta to Pietà.

In the last interview he gave to The Times when he was discharged from hospital, just one day before he passed away, Prof de Marco had said: “I was scared I would leave my wife behind. I depend on her, and she on me. Living a life no longer connected to her was going to make me very unhappy.”

The two tied the knot in 1956, embarking on life that threw them into a life of politics and blessed them with three children – Fiorella, Giannella and Mario.

“He was then a young lawyer, not established but full of ambition. His subsequent involvement in politics was probably the part of his life I felt that as a wife I could do without. I always felt it was taking his precious time away from his family,” she admits.

During his long political tenure, Prof. de Marco served as deputy Prime Minister, Minister of the Interior and Justice, and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Justice. He presented Malta’s application for EU membership in July 1990. In September of the same year, he was elected president of the United Nations General Assembly.

Mrs de Marco adds: “Guido has left us so many memories to treasure and today it is those precious memories and moments that I hold on to and cherish. They allow his spirit to live on.”

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