grief journey

Annie’s Song – February 2023 blog on the Hope for Widow’s website

I’m babysitting my two young grandsons for a four-day weekend while their folks are out of town. These two like all sorts of music. They may ask the Amazon Alexa to play Daft Punk, Justin Bieber, rap or hard rock, or at bedtime, just before I play Enya, they want to hear “My Heart Will Go On” from The Titanic.

But on this lazy Sunday afternoon, as I was enjoying some quiet time with them while we worked on a jigsaw puzzle, they asked me the name of that song about West Virginia so they could have Alexa play it. I’ve no idea where they heard this one, but I asked her to play “Country Roads,” by John Denver. As we listened, we all belted out the song together. It took me back to my teens when the song was popular, and reminded me of the other song I always liked, “Annie’s Song.” I haven’t heard it for years, so I asked Alexa to play it next.

“You fill up my senses like a night in a forest…” Denver sings. Oh, I remember hearing the song’s romantic lyrics as a teen and dreaming of someday finding a man who would love me enough to feel this way about me. Mind you, I was never a big fan of John Denver. I was into hard rock like Led Zepplin and Aerosmith, but my best friend loved him, so I became pretty familiar with the song, and it touched my heart. I longed to have a man love me as much as the lyrics portrayed. And, it took many, many years, but just before my 40th birthday, I found 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

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