grief triggers

Rick Palmer’s 25 Things

I woke up this morning to discover that I was tagged in a Facebook memory from eleven years ago. On February 5, 2009, my husband Rick took part in one of those Facebook challenges. This one was to write 25 things about yourself.

I was excited to see this personalized account written by him so long ago. I had forgotten it even existed. I smiled as I read each one.

When I got to number 25, I cried.


25 Things You May Not Know About Me
February 5, 2009 at 8:30 PM
1) I don’t like bullies be they physical, emotional, or intellectual. I’ll get the underdog’s back every time.

2) I hitchhiked out to California with my best friend in 1974. We had our guitars, $20 each, and we were going to be famous.

3) I like things that work like they are supposed to. I ordered a Genie garage remote a few weeks ago. It came when it was supposed to and it took all of 45 seconds to set up.

4) I’ve discovered that you can do anything you want to do in life. You just have to try. There are always plenty of people to ask, or you can get online and find out.

5) l love to cook. I’m still learning, though.

6) I got a mountain bike for my birthday last August. I had forgotten how much fun it was to ride. I’m ready to ride again. That in itself is enough to banish this Godforsaken winter and bring on spring.

7) I haven’t been to church since I attended a bible study group and the pastor said only Lutherans were going to heaven . . . from the Missouri synod. Seriously.

8) I’ll have the red wine: Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir . . . in that order. maybe Merlot in a pinch.

9) I’m a dog person. Our Blue Tick Coon Hound, Sassy, has protected us from the squirrels, male delivery person, and the Free Press guy since we’ve lived in Garden City.

10) I like Indian food a lot.

11) I played football at Western Michigan. I didn’t like it, and wasn’t very good.

12) I’ve met Jimmy Carter, Coretta Scott King, Coleman Young, Jesse Jackson, Larry Bird, Dionne Warwick, Jim Blanchard, Carl Levin, Sam Donaldson, Jim Nabors, and Paul Wellstone since I’ve worked for NWA.

13) I read the New York Times every day. Politics aside, it’s a very well-written publication.

14) I listen to audiobooks on my iPod driving to and from work. Sometimes, when the book gets really good, I take the long way home.

15) Edward Hopper’s artwork and Aaron Copeland’s music move me in similar ways.

16) I try not to subscribe to the either-or philosophy. Why not Pepsi and Coke, McDonalds and Burger King?

17) Or Democrats and Republicans? Nah.

18) Politically, I’m the black sheep of my family. We can’t discuss politics. Period.

19) I design websites and print material. Sometimes, you nail it, and it’s a great feeling.

20) I write also. I’m never that sure about the results.

21) When I started out at Northwest we flew 727s. The back belly was always cool and comfortable on a hot summer day. Perfect for kicking back and reading a paperback.

22) I never believed I would ever get old. Now what?

23) My dad used to take us to the library. He always steered me away from the children’s section. “That’s kiddie-crap,” he would say. He had me read stuff a couple of years out of my age group, and he always took the time to go over the words and concepts I didn’t understand. He was right about the “kiddie-crap.”

24) I’m scared of heights.

25) Gerry, my wife, is the best thing to ever happen to me.

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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