Pain Menu

Pain menu

Which memory shall I select? What will bring on the tears?
You at the end? Hooked to monitors, breathing by machine?

You at the beginning? Our first date? Our first kiss?

Or the many options from the 21 years in between?

The memory selection is endless. The choices are triggered with little to no effort.

Choose one, name your poison, pick your pain.

Dancing in the kitchen
Driving in the car
Memorable trips
Weekend excursions

Audio or visual?
Catchphrases and slogans and arguments and endearments
Smiles and scowls and staring into your eyes

Sand and snow
Sun and rain
Us together

“Smell that ocean, honey. Smell that ocean.”

Playing boggle and drinking peppermint schnapps

Watching Doc Martin in our ma and pa chairs

Our firsts. Our lasts. Our life. Our love.

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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