grief journey

My Mom Once Told Me…

My mom once told me…
That people in heaven can’t see us

She said heaven is a happy place, a peaceful place that our loved ones go to when they die
She said earth is a sad place
So people in heaven can’t see us hurting, sick, sad, and depressed
Or they would be sad, too.

My mom once told me…
That a man will never love a woman as much as a woman loves a man

She said men don’t love women with the same fervor
She said women always love men more
She told me not to expect love like that from a man
Because it will never happen

My mom once told me…
That women are weak

She said a woman could never fight in a war
And shouldn’t be on a police force
She said men are much stronger than women
Men handle things better

My mom once told me a lot of things
That she believed were true
That prior generations told their daughters
Wisdom passed down from woman to woman, like a genetic mutation

And then I met my husband; we shared twenty years together
Until he died

And I’m not sure if there’s a heaven at all
And if there is, and he can see me
Here, alone, on earth – the sad place
He sees me hurting, sick, sad, and depressed

But I’d like to believe he’s happy
So I think I’ll trust her on that one

But mom was very wrong about the rest

I knew a man who loved me utterly and completely and proved his love daily
He showered me with kisses and caresses
With words of praise, encouragement, and adoration
He spent all his time by my side
I know that man loved me equally as much as I loved him

And when he died, I proved her wrong about the weak thing, too.

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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