grief and memories

One Year Without You – A Poem

I’ve been writing a lot lately. I have so many thoughts swirling around in my mind that I need to get out. I know it has to do with the looming one-year anniversary of Rick’s death and the grief that evokes. I want so much to remember everything about him, his love for me, and our beautiful life together, yet thoughts of the horrible last few months of his life – watching him slowly fade away, and, ultimately, the day of his death – keep invading and causing an incredible sadness.

Mostly, I have a difficult time believing that he has been gone an entire year, that tomorrow it will be one year since that awful Sunday last August, and that it’s been more than a year since we enjoyed our day-to-day life together. This poem incorporates all those frenzied thoughts from the sadness of his death to all the joyous things we shared that are absent from my life now.

One Year Without You

How can it be a year today
Since you were forced to go away?
A year without your touch, your kiss
A year alone, a year to miss…

My best friend, lover, soulmate, life –
The man who chose me for his wife,
The man who said he’d leave me never,
The one I planned to love forever.

A year ago you went away?
It’s seem like it was yesterday
That you were sitting here with me,
That we were living happily.

A year without my better half.
A year without your smile, your laugh.
Oh how I miss your puns and jokes,
(And watching you drink Diet Cokes).

I can’t believe it’s been a year
Since hearing you say, “‘Morning dear.”
How do I rise for work at all
Without your daily wake up call?

Our weekday lunch dates are no more,
And weekend breakfasts are a bore.
Dinner for one is such a chore.
In bed, I long to hear you snore.

I miss our day-to-day routine,
When you would cook and I would clean.
And hearing you call out my name.
Without you, nothing is the same.

And when I get into our car
To drive around (both near and far),
I miss seeing you behind the wheel.
I still can’t believe that this is real.

You used to sing around the house,
But now it’s quiet as a mouse.
I miss your lovely baritone;
It’s far too silent here alone.

I miss our evenings on the deck.
I miss my arms around your neck
While dancing to our favorite tune,
And kissing underneath the moon.

No skinny dipping late at night;
No one to edit what I write;
No working together on websites;
No one to hold me on cold nights.

And, oh, how you supported me:
I shed a tear, and there you’d be.
But with you gone, I’m so alone.
How have I done this on my own?

And even though it’s been a year,
It’s tough believing you’re not here.
I’m still not used to my new life –
To being a widow, not a wife.

And ‘tho you’re gone, you’ll always be
My husband; you’re a part of me.
And one year later, on my hand
I still wear your wedding band.

I want you back; this can’t be true.
I wanted much more time with you.
I sometimes dream it’s all a lie,
That you’re still here; you didn’t die.

But no, I’ve had a year to face
This empty, awful, quiet place.
A year to cry, a year to grieve,
A year that’s forced me to believe.

A year ago I said goodbye.
A year ago I watched you die.
A year ago our love was severed.
A year ago life changed forever.

It’s been a year? Oh yes, it’s true –
A long, long year of missing 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

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


  1. That was just beautiful Gerry. I know tomorrow will be a hard day. I remember all those feelings. I can only tell you that holding on to the all the memories, they could be happy, sad, funny, private, glorious whatever they may be…you will be able to smile soon, without so many tears. I’m sending my love and prayers and hugs to you. We both love you, and we will get together soon. Love, Coleen

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