I went to Costco today

December 20, 2017
18 weeks

Dear Rick,

I went to Costco today.

I doubt I’ve ever gone without you. Maybe once, but maybe not. Costco was us, just as Home Depot, Lowe’s, Ikea, and all those other stores were places we went together.

Roaming the aisles of Costco with you was one of life’s simple pleasures, one of our “our world” things to do. You and I called each other across the aisles, “Rick, come see this kitchen item!” “Gerry, look at this gazebo!” “Hey, look, it’s that blankety blank we’ve been looking for!”

Oh god, I miss you so much! I miss all the delightful, simple pleasures we shared.

I went to Costco, but forgot to take my Visa credit card. It’s all they take now – has been for awhile. Since I was always with you, and you had yours, I didn’t even think to grab it. So I went to optical to make an appointment. Remember, our insurance pays for an exam and a pair of glasses biannually and we were supposed to go earlier this year? But we couldn’t. First, we were in Florida, then you were too sick or weak to walk those long aisles.

I remember you did go to Costco, one day, when I was at work earlier in the year. We were going to Wally’s and you bought appetizers. You bought some kind of sandwiches, which I thought were way too much as a prelude to a dinner, but everyone loved them and it made you happy. I liked when you were happy, pleased about something you had accomplished. You didn’t get a lot of praise, and you deserved so much for all you did and were and strove to do. I tried my best to let you know how proud I was of you, of being your wife, of being by your side. I hope you knew. I think you did.

It still hurts so much, you not being here. Four months – I don’t know how I’ve made it this long, missing you – not being able to touch you or hear you or see you. My imagination isn’t quite strong enough to pretend that you’re hugging me in bed at night. I’ve tried. I’ve closed my eyes and pictured it as vividly as I can, but it doesn’t work. You aren’t here – here where you should be.

So, today, alone, I went to Costco. I had my eye exam and tried on some frames. In 20+ years, I’ve never picked out glasses without you. Yup. It’s the little losses, the ones you don’t see coming. Going into a Costco without you, picking out frames without you, coming home to an empty house, eating dinner alone. It’s a million thoughts and a million things everyday that all scream, WHERE IS HE? HE ALWAYS DID THIS THING WITH ME!

I want to talk to you about so many things. Tonight, I have to work on the newsletter you created, sitting at your desk, working on your computer, in your office. And I don’t want to! I want you to do it! I want you to be here working on the newsletter, then stop for a break and put on your layers of sweatshirts, hoodies, flannel, and go out to have some wine on the deck. And I’ll surprise you by coming out for two glasses. And you’ll tell me all the thoughts that are mulling around in your head: your ideas, your decisions, your plans, your dreams. And I’ll chime in and we’ll discuss, and debate, and argue, and agree. And then I’ll tell you I’m too cold, and I’ll rise to go in and as I pass you, you’ll grab my hand and pull me to you for your kiss. And you’ll thank me for coming out and tell me it’s the best part of your day, and then you’ll pat my ass as I walk away, and I’ll yelp at you.

I want that so bad.

I want the little things, life’s little pleasures.

I want you.


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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