I was watching a Brene Brown video and she talked about how everyone wants to have extraordinary experiences, but how the little things in life really matter more. She said that after stunning life events, like near-death experiences, the death of a loved one, or other traumas, in the aftershock, what we miss are the ordinary moments before the event occurred.

As an example, she said after the death of her husband, one woman asked: “Can I please hear him come through the screen porch door again?”

Well, great… there’s a trigger.

All these years later, I still long for those ordinary moments I shared with Rick. I remember the parties and life celebrations, but what I miss most – living here alone in the “afterlife” – are the simple things that made life so satisfying.

I miss riding in the car to some mundane destination. Gabbing about everything and anything and pointing out interesting things to each other on the ride. Singing out loud together when some peppy song came on the radio. Holding hands across the center console.

I miss the ordinary diner breakfasts on Sundays. I miss the boring TV nights during the week. I miss his deep throaty belly laugh when something took his fancy.

I miss him making the dog “fake talk” to me in the strange accent he used for the dog’s voice. (Rick made the dog refer to me as, “Woman who talks so much” and always received a glare from me in response.)

I miss the ordinary sights, sounds, and smells that ceased to exist after he died.

I miss looking across the hall at each other from our mutual offices and listening to the sound of him clacking away at his computer.
I miss smelling the food cooking on the grill and our nightly dinners outdoors on the deck.
I miss him patting my butt when I walked by him.
I miss the musky smell of him when he worked up a sweat cutting grass on a sunny summer day.
I miss lying in bed together cuddling on rainy Sunday afternoons.

I even miss listening to him snore.

I miss all of those simple things. I miss the essence of day-to-day life spent together.

So, sure, I miss the vacation memories, the birthdays, the anniversaries. But nearly five years later, in life after Rick, it’s the ordinary moments I long to have back again.


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.