grief journey

With This Ring

Yesterday marked 17 months since my husband died. So much has changed in my life since then. I’ve grieved, and grieved, and grieved some more. I’ve worked through the grief, written through the grief, talked to my grief counselor, cried on the shoulders of family and friends, and – to be honest – I’m really, really tired of grieving. Shouldn’t I be done by now? Over it? Shouldn’t I have accepted it and moved on after nearly a year and a half?

Yes, I’m tired of grieving, but I guess that’s just my tough luck, because every time I think the grieving is over, my life is moving forward, and I have hope for the future, I have a little relapse, and feel the pain of his loss severely all over again. For example, although I had a really great time celebrating New Year’s Eve with my oldest besties, the days that followed seemed bleak. I finally realized that I was still extremely sad that I hadn’t been able to ring in the new year alone with Rick, playing Boggle and drinking Peppermint Schnapps, as I had for years and years before. That’s how I wanted to spend my NYE for the rest of my life, and I still feel robbed of that little pleasure.

However, the benefit of having journaled my way through this grief journey is that – when I reread things I wrote just after Rick died, or I revisit how I was feeling a year ago – I know I’m different, I’m better. In those entries, I see a woman still consumed with loss and mired in grief, attempting to hang onto the past. And I don’t feel the same today. I’m pretty content with life 90 percent of the time now. I even feel joy, again. I might go so far as to not consider myself as grieving anymore… maybe just a woman who gets sad once in a while, a woman who feels remorse for what she lost – if I have to label it at all.

Despite the knowledge that I’m more “myself” again, it still came as quite a shock the other day to realize that I don’t feel like a wife anymore. Having spent the last 17 months alone, I suppose that there’s no way I could. I truly feel like a single individual. I’m no longer an “us.” I’m a “me”…

Read the blog on the Hope for Widows Foundation website.   


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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