The award you weren’t here for

I won an award at work today and you weren’t here to share the joy with me. You were here when I found out I was being nominated. I just assumed you’d be here to find out if I won.

I’ll use the money toward the MacBook you insisted I need. You were planning to buy it for our anniversary in July, but you were too weak to walk into the Apple Store to help me try them out. We went to Best Buy once and you barely made it to the computer section with your walker, stopping to sit in the collapsible seat along the way. A store employee saw how bad you looked and brought you a cup of water. That was nice, heartwarming, but so so awfully sad – watching you sit sipping on a cup of water, looking 80 years old.

I think that was about a week before you died. I remember we went to that new restaurant that serves brunch. In fact, I think that was right after you had your old-fashioned shave at the barber.

Yes, a shave, an abbreviated trip to Best Buy to look at MacBooks, then brunch at the new diner. I have pictures on my iPhone from that day – Saturday, August 5th. You died eight days later.

I’m going to use the award money for the MacBook you tried to buy me for our 20th anniversary. I’m probably going to cry when I buy it, then cry every time I use it – at least for awhile.

Oh god, how I miss you. I love you. I always will. I wish you were here with me to share in this tiny bit of happiness. I wish this tiny bit of happiness actually made me feel happy, but nothing really does anymore. My happiness died with 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

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