grief journey

A Fine Cry – A Poem

The second anniversary of Rick’s death is Tuesday. In some ways, I can’t believe it’s been two years. In others, it feels like he’s been gone for ages. My life has changed so much since he was here, including finally acknowledging that I’m single again. Dating other men is surreal. How can this be? I was supposed to be with Rick forever. But it’s really not “other” men, is it? Because I’m no longer married.

Reading these words from Toni Morrison took me back to the first few months after his death. I know I’ve come a long way since then, but every now and then, especially on those special days – our July wedding anniversary, the day of his death, his birthday, holidays without him, or just any other strong memory that triggers the tears again – I once again become immersed in those circles and circles of sorrow.

It was a fine cry – loud and long – 
but it had no bottom and it had no top,
just circles and circles of sorrow.  – Toni Morrison

A Fine Cry

Thank you Toni Morrison
You know just how I feel
The awful grief since he’s been gone
The sadness that won’t heal

That fine cry that was bottomless
Once plagued me every day
But with each year that passes by
The grief has seeped away

Yet every anniversary
It rears its ugly head
A woman who is functioning
Is drawn back to her bed

Two years of grief seem long enough
But then a memory hits
The dormant feelings rise again
My heart is torn to bits

Yes, grief is also bottomless
The circles spin and spin
One day I’m filled with sadness
The next, I’m fine again

I’m trapped inside a circle
Immersed within the sorrow
And hoping once again I’ll find
That sense of peace tomorrow

About the author

Katherine Billings Palmer is a technical writer, poet, and essayist from Garden City, Michigan. She’s won several academic writing awards, including first place in the University of Michigan Dearborn Critical Essay Contest for her work about poet John Donne: “‘The Sun Rising’: A Lover’s Boast.”

In 2017, Katherine’s husband, Rick, died of complications from small cell lung cancer. She wrote a series of poems and essays about her struggles to cope with her grief. I Wanted to Grow Old With You is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions.

Her latest book, A Widow’s Words: Grief, Reflection, Prose, and Poetry – The First Year was published in January 2019 and is also available on

Katherine is a guest blogger for the Hope for Widows Foundation and writes about her grief journey at

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