Coping with “That Day”

Rick died six years ago today. Not always being a rational person, I decided the best way to handle this awful anniversary would be to sleep through today. That didn’t work. For one reason, my cat did not agree with the decision. For another, I know you can’t hide from grief. You need to acknowledge it – face it head on. So, instead, I played all the saddest songs I knew, and I cried it out for a couple of hours. I felt all the feelings. Then my cat and I got up and went out to enjoy a beautiful summer day. Rick’s not here to enjoy it, so I’m going to do it for him.

Exactly one year after his death, I wrote an essay in which I wondered if August 13th would ever be “just a day.” I read it this morning, and I remember that awful, raw pain. Years later, I’m just thankful to have survived it and put my life back together. But there are a few significant days that are more difficult than others, and this will always be one of them…

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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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