I like my house now.

I like living here alone. I like the comfort of my own home. I like the feeling I get when I pull in my garage and appreciate that I have a safe, warm, attractive place to live.

I like grilling on the barbecue on my back deck – the deck Rick built. For the few warm days we’ve had this year, I enjoyed eating lunch and doing a crossword in the sun, then sitting out under the gazebo in the evening.

I like working at the desk in my semi-organized office, with the photos of generations of ancestors on the shelves and the giant “Dead Ophelia” print Rick had framed for me mounted prominently on the wall in front of my desk.

I think I’m even beginning to enjoy cooking (!) for myself now, in the well-appointed kitchen Rick and I remodeled ourselves. I like mixing up ingredients on the spacious island we built so long ago.

I like sitting with my feet up, glass of Cabernet in my hand, watching Game of Thrones in my nicely furnished living room – sitting in the spot where he used to sit.

I like crawling under the blankets in my comfortable bed at night. Yes, there’s still that empty spot next to me, but it no longer affects me like it did in the beginning. More often than not now, my bedroom is simply a comfortable place to retreat to after a long day of work and play.

So, yes, I like my house now. I can finally appreciate and enjoy living alone in the house Rick and I built and shared together for so many years. I’ve come to a place where I’m no longer filled with the sadness of my loss. Instead I feel peace and comfort living with the beautiful memories contained within these walls.

I like my life, too. And, emotionally, this is a place I couldn’t even have imagined being one year ago today.

For so long, I hated coming home. I hated the silence, the emptiness, the barrenness. Many evenings, when I arrived home after work, I actually sat in my car in the dark garage for nearly an hour, crying and trying to talk myself into entering the silent, empty house.

I hated being here. I hated being alone. I hated every quiet, empty room. I hated everything about my life and my new state of widowhood. And I was positive I would never get used to it. Living alone, wandering around the too-silent house, feeling his loss everywhere I looked. Trying to find a reason to go on without him. Trying to make a new life for myself.

A little over a year ago, I wrote this passage in my blog. I had just made the long drive to Florida by myself and had arrived alone at the beach at sunset. It was just a few months after his death, at a time when I never dreamed I’d feel joy or contentment again:

I knew I had to go on without you. I have no choice. And the sun will continue to set on the gulf without you. And the sun will rise again tomorrow without you. And I will continue my life without you.

And since his death, the sun has risen and set 628 days. And I have continued my life without him, and I finally feel contentment – and sometimes even joy and hope. I finally feel like I’m home again.

And I like this place.


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 Amazon.com.