I didn’t want to get out of bed this morning. It happens.

I lay there contemplating why. Why today? Why is it so difficult to get up this morning?

I realized that today I feel no hope. No hope of ever enjoying my life again. No hope for a future that is meaningful. No hope of ever feeling right or complete without Rick in my life. No hope of feeling happiness. No hope of true joy or fulfillment, all because my life partner is gone.

I feel dead inside.

My counselor says hope is the reason for living, that studies have proven people who have hope live through horrific events. Hope keeps us alive.

And that sums up how I felt, as I strove to rise, as I fought my way out from underneath my covers – I felt hopeless and unable to keep on living.

I pushed myself and I arose. I set off to work. I talked myself through the process. I told myself that I’ve felt this way before, and the feeling changes, and I do go on. I have to. I will.

And, hours later, I think I realized why today, why this morning, I may have felt this sense of loss so greatly.

Every day, I watch last year unfold before my eyes through Facebook and Timehop memories. We were in Florida, watching sunsets. We were at outdoor restaurants, eating pizza and drinking wine. We were basking in the light of remission. We were hopeful.

Rick was going to beat the cancer. He had gone through the trials and made it. He wasn’t cured, but the chemo and radiation had worked – it had destroyed the tumors and all he had left to endure was the brain radiation that would hopefully circumvent any chance of the tumors spreading to his brain.


We thought we had more time. We talked about taking a three-week trip across the upper northwest in the fall. Short-term, we decided to return to Florida at the beginning of April, when his brain radiation would be complete – and he’d be done with it all, the tests, the treatments, the hospitalizations. It would all be over and we could reclaim our lives.

We were so wrong. And now he’s dead, and I’m alone. What do I possibly have to hope for?

March 2, 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 Amazon.com.

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

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