Thank you

Thank you.

For going to work every day so I can have choices now. Your 32 years of hard work has provided me with stability in retirement. I remember how hard you worked the last five years before you retired: starting over, working your ass off loading planes, relearning airport codes, and testing to regain your position, then, once again, turning that position into something more – creating newsletters and doing photography – because you were so creative and never quit!

Your hard work, your dedication, going into work every single day – rarely taking a sick day in years and years – has given me options for a future I never would have dreamed of before marrying you.

And then the buyout, the retirement that really didn’t happen. Yes, you enjoyed naps and bicycle rides – in between working on our web and print design business nearly every day. You never considered it work, but I saw how dedicated to improving the business you were and how hard you worked for our clients.

Your gumption and strength gave us this remodeled kitchen and a nearly finished basement, and new flooring throughout, and more. Your initiative gave us a beautiful yard, with three decks and landscaping and a fountain. You built shelving units throughout the garage and improved its worth.

You fucking toiled our entire marriage to improve our lives. You built us a dream house in Maryland. You worked every day after work and on weekends (at least one hour per evening, you’d say). Then you came back and started over on our house here. In the middle of finishing ours, you stopped work so you could make your mother’s house salable. You spent countless hours going through all her CRAP to empty the house – and then empty the storage units. Then you cleaned it and painted it and tiled it and landscaped it – tirelessly – every day, every weekend, for two years.

You never stopped. Never. You worked on the house up north. You helped others move and build and improve. Even when updating websites for clients, you went the extra mile to go take pictures or help with menus or flyers. You never stopped working.

All your efforts have given me a home, built with your love. They’ve given me an income, built with your sweat and your dedication to all of your jobs. They’ve given me a future that will be financially stable, with options to do whatever I want to do – options I couldn’t have had without your hard work and endless love.

Thank you, my darling Rick. You gave and gave in more than the obvious ways. Besides your strenuous efforts at work and at home, you also gave your heart and soul and millions of little caring deeds – thoughtful gifts of love just to make me happy.

Rick Palmer, you gave your strength and love. You gave your all. Thank 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

Katherine is a guest blogger for the Hope for Widows Foundation and writes about her grief journey at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *