grief journey

Our 25th Anniversary – Hope for Widows blog post

This past Tuesday was our 25th wedding anniversary and I celebrated alone, sitting under the windchimes in my gazebo. A small portion of Rick’s ashes are in the chimes, so I always feel like he’s with me when I sit there. It was his favorite place to sit in the evenings, so I thought it was the perfect location to put his ashes after he died five years ago.

On the night of our anniversary, I lit the twinkle lights and the candles (and the tabletop citronella tiki torch, because mosquitos seem to find me incredibly tasty). Then I poured myself a glass of cabernet and sat with him awhile. We talked over old times, and I updated him on my recent dating life.

In my possibly quirky viewpoint, Rick actually “met” both of the men I became involved with in the past three years I’ve been dating. At some point, each of them sat with me under the gazebo during our courtships, and I told them about the ashes in the windchimes. One didn’t have much to say about it. The other addressed Rick directly. He looked up at the chimes and introduced himself, and then asked him, “Please give me some advice. How do you handle this woman?”

I thought that was amusing since Rick often told me (in feigned frustration), “You don’t ever follow the rules!” when I did something he considered out of line, like drink wine directly from the bottle or some other “out of bounds” behavior. For that reason, he laughingly considered me “hard to handle.” So I’m sure if he could’ve communicated, he would’ve had some advice for the poor guy.

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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