grief and coping

My Substitute Life – New Post on Hope for Widows website

…After 15 months of widowhood, I’ve pretty much adapted to my current status. And, sometimes, when I take inventory of where my life is headed, now that I’m on my own, I ask myself, Other than the fact that your husband is dead, how do you like your life?

And the answer is – I have a very, very good life – other than the fact that it’s not the life I wanted.

It’s like working towards this goal for 20 years, whatever that goal may be, and, suddenly, you realize that after all that hoping and planning, the payoff will never come. Like taking years to get a degree only to find out that there are no longer jobs in that field. Or renovating a house for 20 years only to have it burn down once it’s completely remodeled.

Rick and I worked and toiled and planned together for two decades, always looking ahead to that time when we would relax and spend our golden years together, just him and me. And now it’s just me, and those golden years will be spent without him.

It’s not the same. It’s a substitute life.

Read the rest of the blog here.

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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