Grief Knows No Bounds – Hope for Widows Post for December 2021

Grief knows no bounds. It can be triggered when you least expect it, although most triggers are obvious and predictable. After Rick’s death, I knew going into a diner, Home Depot, or Costo would be painful. I knew vacationing without him for the first time would be awful. Smelling his aftershave or seeing a large bald man would sometimes be a catalyst for tears. Those were all obvious triggers, and sometimes still are, although not as intense as they once were.

But sometimes, the reason for grieving was a little more elusive… like simply a change in season. Who would expect that to bring on the tears? I do now. There were times when I was feeling a little down, but there was no obvious reason. But the sadness wouldn’t let up, and I finally realized it was a seasonal thing. Every spring, I’d get sad because I’d remember us working in the yard together. Every fall, I’d picture him in his hoodie raking leaves. Just sensing either of those seasons by a shift in the air or waft of a scent could make me depressed.

I’m prepared now for those seasonal mood swings. I’m also ready for the bittersweet sense of loss or sadness brought on by each holiday and by his birthday. But I’m still caught off guard by the unexpected….

Read the blog at 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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