grief journeyI came across videos of a trip Rick and I took 14 years ago this month. He knew going to Cornwall to explore the land of my ancestors had been a life-long dream and we spent five glorious days in England. We then met up with my son and his wife to explore several other countries in Europe. It was a trip of a lifetime.

I was going through the trip photos in my Dropbox folder and discovered the short videos I took using one of those little Flip video cameras available at the time. I forgot the videos existed! As I opened them one by one, I watched my husband being silly and playful, saw videos of him driving us down the narrow treacherous paths through the countryside, and even found one of us dining together in a restaurant in Germany with my son and his wife, where my daughter-in-law turned the camera on the two of us, providing me with a rare video of us together.

grief journeyWhen I finished watching all the videos, I felt almost paralyzed. I was so overcome seeing these unexpected memories of that time we shared, that I didn’t know HOW I felt. And, of course, I started to cry and did so for probably two hours. As my grief therapist once told me, as time goes on, there will come a stage where there are very few new memories, so uncovering one I haven’t explored will be a shock to the system.

I thought I had seen every photo, visited every place we shared, touched every memento and piece of clothing that was his. But, out of nowhere, there was something I had not seen since he died, a memory I hadn’t uncovered. A memory I hadn’t grieved.

I guess I entered one of those rooms in the house of grief that I had never entered and processed before. After five years, it was unsettling, but what a bonus to discover those videos. Once I recovered from the shock and the grief of once again facing the fact that we will never explore the world together, I remembered to be thankful for the beautiful life we once shared. I’m so grateful for experiencing his love for me and for the adventures we enjoyed together.

You died five years ago
That fact alone
Can make my head spin

Five years remembering
And grieving
And longing for you

Five years of quietness
And solitude
And hearing your voice only in my head

Five years of relearning
What life felt like
Before I met you

Five years of discovering
That I can survive, and thrive
But miss you all the same

Five years of memories
Created on my own
Without you by my side

Five years of knowing
That I was luckier than I ever realized
To spend twenty years with you


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