grief journey

The Pink Pool Noodle – October 2022 Hope for Widows post

The fuchsia-pink pool noodle Rick bought me is starting to decompose around the edges. The memories of that last vacation we shared are starting to fade around the edges, too.

How can a pool noodle come to mean so much to me? How does it symbolize our love? Or his personality? Or how much he cared for me?

Can I salvage it? Can I take a large, sharp steel cutting knife and slice off the frayed edges? Will that make it new again? Whatever I do, it won’t bring him back.

In April 2017, we were staying at a friend’s condo in Treasure Island, Florida. We were hanging on for dear life to what we had created, to our future, to his health, to our happiness. He was a little weak at that point, but I had no idea how bad it would get in a few short months, or that he would be gone before summer’s end. He was still a formidable man who caught everyone’s attention when he walked into a room – he seemed larger than life at six foot five inches tall, with those broad, impressive shoulders. I’m sure I was one of the few people who noticed the change in him.

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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *