grief journey

Remembrances of Things Past – Hope for Widows Blog for November

The first year or two after losing Rick, every memory that popped into my mind was an emotional trigger that sometimes made me sob, and other times just brought on some quiet tears. The trick was learning to handle these moments because you never knew where or when they were going to hit. It wasn’t just seeing a picture of him or going to a place we used to go. It was a random song lyric, or a shirt that reminded me of the kind he used to wear. It could be anything really, and it could happen when you least expected it. When you’ve spent all of your time with someone for 20 some years, you create a lot of memories in a lot of places. Scenarios, sounds, smells… everything reminded me of him.

And depending where I was, I’d either give in and remember or I’d fight the memory so I could return my attention to the meeting at work or the social gathering I was a part of. I’ll store it away for later, I’d think… later when I can mull it over, relish the moments, and cry my heart out in privacy.

But I’m noticing that it’s different now – four years since his death. At this stage, you have a lot more control over your mind. The memories don’t come as frequently, although they do come. And every once in a while, there is a doozy. One that you possibly haven’t thought about in years. One that just tears your heart out because you wish those days were here again.

Read the rest of 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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