grief and chapter 2

A Widow in Pursuit of Happiness – blog on the Hope for Widows website

At the final session, she gave us an assignment. She’ll never see it. We’ll never share it. It was just a parting gift for us to mull over and write about, another way to gain insight into ourselves, our writing abilities, our hopes, our dreams. She said, “Write about what you’re afraid of.”

After the workshop, as I pondered the question and stared at the blank page, I came up with one word that surprised me…


I am afraid of happiness. That’s what widowhood has done to me. Watching Rick slowly die and my happiness drain away changed me. I found someone to love, someone I wanted to spend my life with. And he died. And with his death, my whole life turned upside down and my happiness evaporated.

Read the blog on the Hope for Widows website.

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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