Our first date anniversary

Dear Rick,

I made it through another significant day. Our first date was March 9, 1996. We celebrated the occasion every year, and yesterday was a tough one.

I had to pause a few times during the work day to cry. I just miss you so terribly that I can’t stand it. I think back on that date and know that we both were aware of how strong the attraction was. I remember thinking that just maybe you were “the one.”

We both knew the first date rules. You meet somewhere public for a cup of coffee. That way, if you can’t stand each other, you have an easy and quick date, then escape out the door.  We both hated coffee and agreed to meet for diet Cokes. We met at the Ram’s Horn in the vestibule. You said, “Oh, it’s you! Wow, you’re beautiful.” What a first line! LOL. I was hooked.

As we were about to enter the restaurant, you stopped and asked, no, would I rather go somewhere else? And I agreed, and we went to the Wheat and Rye instead.

So we met and got a booth in the corner. You were so interesting and funny and intelligent. Always the consummate interviewer, you plied me with questions about me and my life and – as the night went on – you were more and more excited about how much we had in common and how much our interests gelled.

Finally, later in the evening, you asked what my favorite food was. I told you Mexican food, and you laughed and asked, “Will you marry me?”

It was a joke, and I laughed, but we both knew by then that we were hooked. I took a break to go to the ladies’ room and I remember smiling and rehashing that comment, that joke you made: Will you marry me? And I thought to myself, Yes, maybe I will.

We talked and talked for hours, without pause. We talked about writing, and our work, and our kids, and our pasts. The night flew by and you kissed me goodbye in the parking lot. The date was over, but I knew neither of us wanted it to be, so I invited you back to my apartment. And we stayed up all night.

And 22 years later, I’m still surprised at how lucky I was to have met you, to have loved you, to have become one with you forever. You’re part of me now and always will be.

I love you, honey. Happy first date anniversary.



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.


  1. Wow.., no average relationship there!!
    You both were blessed to have had that experience and time together!!

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