Who am I mourning for?

I hear a lawn mower running outside. It’s a beautiful (too early) fall day. You would love this. You would love the smell of autumn, and the sounds of the mower outside the window. You would want to take a nap with the window open, curled like a burrito in your old stinky blanket. You would tell me that since you were a child, you enjoyed listening to the sounds outside the window while you slept, including people doing mundane chores, like cutting the lawn.

If it was a weekend, and I was home from work, you would call me to join you in bed. Especially those last few months, when you wanted me to just come to bed with you so often throughout the day. You would call out, “Come lay with me.” And sometimes I would. God, I wish I had every time. I would run into that room right now with the slightest invitation, and I would hold you and never let go.

Who am I mourning for? My loss? The absence of you in my life? The part of my life that was wonderful and loving and so much fun. My life with my dreamer of a husband?

Or am I mourning for your losses? For all the days like this that you will never experience again? You loved days like this, and smells like this, and sounds like this. And you should be here. You worked hard for your retirement. You worked hard for a pleasant home. You worked hard on our marriage and our relationship and making a good life together. You worked hard for us to have a future of wandering the country, and the globe. And, in the end, you worked hard to survive, to make it through each day.

And now it’s over for you, and it was too short.

And I love you so much. And I want you here so much.

Who am I mourning for? Us.

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.

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