One More Time

Would one more time have helped?

I am once again swamped with regrets for the times I was too wrapped up in other activities (or my exhaustion or sadness and despair) to drop everything and come to you, join you as you lay in bed. But would one more time, one more embrace, one more talk have helped assuage this great engulfing grief?

You are gone. I lie here alone, facing the empty side of the bed where your huge muscular body should be. I reach for you in the night and awaken with longing for what will never be again.

Perhaps the few times I failed to join you, those missed moments would have left me with fewer regrets today, but the grief from your absence wouldn’t be any less painful.

I think the real pain is in imagining that I hurt you when I put off your requests. Did I cause you one moment of sadness in your too-short life? That’s what’s painful to me now.

The idea that by denying you anything at all in those last months of your life means that I caused you pain or disappointment when you had so little left that made you happy, the thought that my failure to see how much you needed me and those times just lying in bed together causes me great pain and guilt.

The regret that I may have missed one more chance to hold you and love you, or that even worse – I hurt you – adds one more spike in my self-inflicted crown of thorns.

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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