grief holidays

Thanksgiving Day, 2018

I was missing Rick on our second Thanksgiving apart, and my second birthday without him, but I realized that he will never truly be gone.

Thanksgiving Day, 2018

Another holiday is done
The kids came by and we had fun
I’m thankful for my family
And how my life’s turned out to be

But now this special day is through
And I’m alone remembering you
I’m cherishing the love we shared
And all the ways you showed you cared

And so, of course, I’ll shed a tear
Because I so wish you were here
But though your absence makes me sad
I’ll think back on the life we had

So grateful that we chanced to meet
Our time together was so sweet
I’m happy you made me your wife
And, oh, it was a lovely life

Your love for me helped make me whole
You filled me up, both heart and soul
And nothing can take that away
I’ll have that ‘til my dying day

When two hearts join, that love’s forever
A bond that even death can’t sever
For you became a part of me
And though you’re gone, now I can see

How thankful I am for the dance
The love you gave, our great romance
I feel some joy mixed with my sorrow
And some small hope that come tomorrow

Those memories will make me smile
Though that may take a little while
As time goes by, I get much stronger
The hours between the tears grow longer

Now, often, when I feel you near
And hear your voice soft in my ear
I know there is no need for tears
You’ll be with me throughout the years

So one more holiday is through
Another one spent without you
Yet as the family gathered near
I know that you were with us here

I felt you through your legacy
The family you left here for me
I saw you in your children’s smiles
I heard your voice across the miles

We each carry a piece of you
Within our hearts and memories, too
And so, my love you’re never gone
Your love within us carries on

It seems that time goes rushing past
And holidays come on so fast
And without you, I’m awfully sad
But grateful for the love we had

My love, I wish we’d had more time
And now to you I send this rhyme
My grief for you is never ending
But I feel all the love you’re sending

So on this special holiday
Even though you’re far away
Your love for us is here to stay
And that is why I need to say

That thankful I will always be
For all the love you’ve given me
And even though we’re still apart
You’ll always live within my heart

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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