It isn’t fair

You did everything you were supposed to do.

I asked if you were angry. You said, what can I do? All I can do is what they tell me now.

And you did.

Four rounds of chemo
Pills for nausea
30+ lung radiation treatments
10 brain radiation treatments
Numerous numerous numerous blood tests
3 blood transfusions
Shots for the low white blood count
Steroids for pneumonitis
Shots for blood clots

Jabs and jabs and jabs for more blood tests
Pills for everything in between

You did everything you were supposed to do.
You didn’t complain. You didn’t cry. You followed every directive, were subjected to CT scans and PET scans and x-rays.
You did everything you were supposed to do and you died anyway.

It’s just not fair. You went through too much. You should be here enjoying remission. We should be on our trip across country. You should be by my side.

You did everything you were supposed to do. And you’re gone.

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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