First Loves and Last Goodbyes – a Poem

I heard the news, and then I cried
A boy I used to love has died
We were just teens the night we met
No boy had ever kissed me yet

So long ago and far away
He smiled at me and made my day
He held my hand, he kissed my face
I followed him most any place

His beaming smile, his long dark hair
And friendly nature made me care
I loved that boy my teenage years
Through ups and downs through smiles and tears

But puppy love’s not meant to last
And soon he moved into my past
And though we aged and grew apart
His memory lived in my heart

The years flew by, we met again
And he became a trusted friend
We reminisced about those days
Then once again we parted ways

Soon after that, love came to me
A love I knew was meant to be
No boy this time – a full-grown man
Who kissed my lips and held my hand

We both agreed we’d love for life
And soon I came to be his wife
To live forever by his side
But after twenty years he died

And I was sad and I did grieve
Why did my true love have to leave?
I’ve lived two years now on my own
I’ve made a new life and gone on

But when I learned the news today
That my first love had passed away
A strange thought popped into my head
My first love and my last are dead

Two men who both once held my heart
Have died a couple years apart
The boy who kissed a virgin girl
The man who took her around the world

They both became a part of me
My first love and my last, you see
They brought me joy and brought me tears
And love that will last through the years

My first love and my last are gone
But both their memories linger on
And now I think upon each face
My first kiss and my last embrace

So Greg and Rick, this poem’s for you
There’s nothing more that I can do
Than reminisce on times gone by
And shake my head and start to cry

But life moves on and loved ones die
And ‘tho we all may wonder why
Their spirits are with us today
Their memories will always stay

We’ll speak their names, we won’t forget
And they will live among us yet
The boy I kissed, the man I wed
Are still alive within my head

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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