grief journeyAs I draw closer to the end of year two, I realize I no longer feel married. That sounds dumb, since Rick’s been gone for so long, but after twenty years of marriage, I still felt like his wife, no matter what. But in the past couple of months, that feeling has faded. I lead the life of a single woman and all that entails: no partner, no life mate, no support, and no goodnight kisses – so I guess it’s finally sunk in and I’ve adapted to being single.

For most of the time after Rick’s death, seeing my wedding ring where he placed in on my left hand was comforting. It made me feel closer to him and helped me remember all the joy we shared. But at this stage, seeing it there reminds me of what I’ve lost, how long he’s been gone, and the awful grief that resulted from that loss.

I don’t want that reminder any longer. I want to focus on hope and a future where I lead a full life, a life not focused so much on the past. I often use poetry as a release for my feelings, and I wrote a poem that’s imbued with my feelings about this significant act.

With This Ring

“With this ring, I thee wed”
Our vows still echo in my head
When we both pledged to love for life
The day that I became your wife

But when I said the words, “I do,”
And vowed my lifelong love to you
I never dreamed that fate would bring
The day that I’d remove my ring

Your death has changed our story’s end
The future that I planned to spend
Forever with you through the years
Has faded through my veil of tears

And as each passing year goes by
I’m left alone still wondering why
And wishing for that bygone life
When I lived happily as your wife

Your leaving cleaved my heart in two
And it’s been hard here without you
And oh I’ve grieved and oh I’ve cried
But I’ve gone on and I’ve survived

And I’ve decided now’s the day
To put my broken dreams away
It’s time to stop remembering when
And start to live my life again

I pledged my love to you forever
And that will never change, not ever
But time does not stand still for me
And this is how my life will be

And so I’ll move my wedding band
To its new place on my right hand
Take one last look at all that’s been
And step into the world again

We pledged to love each other true
To love for life, both me and you
And you fulfilled your vow that day
When you were forced to go away

And in my heart, my love, you’ll stay
Forever till my dying day
But we both know what you would say
To me if you were here today

“Stop crying for the life that’s gone
Go live and love; time’s moving on
Your life’s ahead, it’s time to live
Now give it all you’ve got to give!”

But as I move my wedding band
From where you placed it on my hand
I’ll hear again the vows you said,
“With this ring, I thee wed”


On August 13, 2017, I lost the love of my life. Rick Palmer and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary one month before he died at age 63 of complications from treatments for small cell lung cancer. He was my partner and soulmate, the love I had been looking for and finally found at age 40.

Rick was a talented writer and web designer and, in 2002, we began our own web and print design business. We worked together building the business and enjoyed traveling, writing, and playing together. Our dream was to spend our golden years together doing more of the same, but in the ten months from diagnosis to death, that dream shattered.

After Rick’s death, I quickly realized that the enormity of his loss was too much for me to handle on my own, so I began grief therapy. I also began writing through my grief in a journal of feelings, thoughts, memories, and poetry. As I navigate my new life alone, I share my journey and my efforts towards creating my “new normal” on my personal blog: The Writing Widow. I’m also on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

I recently published two books about my grief journey: my poetry book, I Wanted to Grow Old With You: A Widow's First Year of Grief in Poetry, and compilation of my blog posts A Widow's Words: Grief, Reflection, Prose, and Poetry - The First Year." Both books are available in print and Kindle versions on