Vestiges of Your Life – A Poem

I cried when I first changed our bed sheets
But any trace of your scent was long gone
I’ve accepted you aren’t coming back
But it’s still very hard to move on

Your things are still just where you left them
On the table right next to the bed
The last glass you drank from still sits there
And there’s dust on the book that you read

Your box of mints sits on the table
Right next to your favorite chair
And so many times in an evening
I expect to see you sitting there

I know I should clean out your closet
And donate your things to the poor
But I just can’t help shedding tears
When I fondle the clothing you wore

Each item has a special meaning
Every shirt brings a memory back
Perhaps one day when I’m stronger
I’ll remove everything from the rack

Your toothbrush is still in the bathroom
Your shaver’s still there on the shelf
I still smell your aftershave often
It hurts but I can’t help myself

There are still bits of sand in the car
That I won’t vacuum up from the floor
Because every time that I see it
I think of our time at the shore

I’m keeping your cell phone active
Because it’s filled with your texts to me
I know it’s a foolish expense
But for now, I’ll just let it be

I’ll admit I still text you sometimes
And I’m not sure exactly why
It gives me some comfort to do it
Even though I won’t get a reply

I cuddle up under your blanket
I wear your sweatshirt to bed
And I’m sure I look pretty dumb
With your favorite hat stuck on my head

Yes, call me a crazy widow
But leave me alone to grieve
The love of my life has been taken
And it’s still hard for me to believe

May 6, 2018

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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