grief journey

I thought today would be a difficult one to handle because it was Valentine’s Day – the day for lovers – and mine is gone. It’s my fourth year without Rick here, and after all this time, I’m used to life alone – and even enjoy my life and the independence. But, still, after dating for a year now, not meeting anyone that I want to spend this lovers’ holiday with, and being quarantined in the midst of a pandemic, I don’t appreciate the reminder that I AM very, very alone. After all, a holiday that focuses on love and couples isn’t the most fun a widow can have.

But I realized that this day is no different from any other to me. Rick made every day special. He was a rebel when it came to anything he was “supposed” to do. He said buying me something on a “Hallmark holiday” didn’t prove anything. In fact, a few months before he died, on what I knew would be our last vacation together in Florida, he bought me a bouquet of pink roses for no reason. And I realized then that so much of what I would miss when he was gone wouldn’t be special holidays. It would be every day.


My life went on without you
I’ve lived through every season
But since you died, the thing I miss
Is flowers for no reason

These Hallmark Holidays, you claimed,
Were not what proved devotion
It was the times lived in between…
Vacations near the ocean

Or evenings on our backyard deck
And private jokes we shared
The hours that we spent side by side
All proved how much you cared

The little trinkets you picked up
The unexpected kiss
The times you cooked a special meal
Those are the things I miss

So on this special day for two
I sit here all alone
But miss you no more than I do
Each day since you’ve been gone

And on this lovers’ holiday
When romance is in season
I know that I miss most of all –
Those flowers for no reason


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