widow grief

It’s all just attempts at distraction.

It’s all just attempts at distraction.

All day long every day.

Each hour brings a wrong note – discord and strife because nothing is the way it’s supposed to be.

The clock ticks and each moment reminds me of what I lost. All day, my rhythms are off. All day, every day, is wrong, soul-jarringly wrong.

Each second reminds me of you and us and how it should be.

Right now we’d be getting up on a Saturday and welcoming the day together.

Right now, you’d be in your office saying, “c’mon, Ger…I’m hungry. Let’s go eat.”

Right now, we’d be at the diner, and you’d be across from me, eating an omelet and hash browns (with onions) and reading your NYT on your iPad.

Right now, you’d tell me some factoid you just read, and you’d reach across to take my crossword and fill in some blanks.

Right now, we’d plan our day, our tasks and errands and work and play, and I’d love doing all of it with you, because you are who I planned to spend my time with, my minutes, hours, days, weeks, years, decades with.

You are who I chose to love and laugh and cry and die with.

But you died first.

Right now, you’d be driving and we’d be chatting and we’d be hanging out doing everything and nothing on our Saturday afternoon.

Right now, we’d be enjoying the dinner you grilled on an evening after a long day of work and play.

Right now, we’d be toasting each other out on the deck and we’d agree that we had a good life, the best life, the life we never dreamed we’d have because we found each other and we know how fortunate we are.

And we’d laugh and we’d talk and we’d tell each other our dreams, and we’d kiss and we’d dance. And we’d hold each other close under the stars.

Right now, it’s late, and we’d be watching TV and talking about how funny your favorite show was, or how well written that movie was, and you’d say, “I’m going to bed. Don’t be up too late.” And I’d say, I won’t. I love you.” And you’d stand and groan and stretch and lean over to kiss me and you’d say, “I love you. Goodnight, honey.”

And right now, I’d be joining you in bed, and you’d awaken from your sound sleep and pull me to you, and engulf me in your strong embrace, and hold me,

And love me.

Right now, we’d be lying in each other’s arms and talking softly until we fell asleep.

And the cycle would begin again tomorrow, the cycle of a life that will never be again.

You are gone and I have to forget you now.

My new life without you has begun.

But it’s all just distraction.

All day long is spent
trying to survive the memories,
trying to create a new life,
trying to fill up the empty days and empty nights since you’ve been gone.

Right now, I’m trying to fill the next hour without you.

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 Amazon.com.

Katherine is a guest blogger for the Hope for Widows Foundation and writes about her grief journey at www.TheWritingWidow.com.

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