Now that I’m retired, I have a lot more time to focus on my personal writing. I’m working on a memoir, and I also write a lot of poetry. Most of my poetry is extremely personal and I only share it with those closest to me, but I decided to share this one I wrote recently with the Hope for Widows readers.

Because the poem felt so intimate, I really had to mull over the idea. But I the more I considered sharing it, the more I realized that it may resonate with many of the widows who turn to this site for support and understanding. As we all are forced to move on from our past lives, and start new chapters, the memories will crop up when they are least desired. But why wouldn’t they? It’s only natural that any intimate moment shared with someone new will make us long for our unfinished pasts and elicit memories of the man we loved in that other life. We just need to keep the echoes of that love deep in our hearts, or – as I often do – express it in a poem.


You trace your finger gently down my spine
And I’m transported to a past life

Long ago,
I would lie behind him in bed at night, put my

Arms around him
and lean my head against his back

We’d sleep like that
With me playing the big spoon

My head resting comfortably
on my giant human pillow

But sometimes, before bedtime, as a joke,
I’d turn my head and

Push my nose into the center of his back
Pressing it lightly into his spine

He would jump and shriek, and then we’d laugh
It was funny how this big man

Could be so sensitive
And that I, alone, knew all his tingly spots

And now in the middle of this time with you
When you brush your fingers down my spine

I think of him and all I lost
When he died

I have this new life
And I’m thankful

I have another man
To share my bed

A man who likes to
run his fingers lightly, gently down my spine

But, in the joy, there is often this sorrow
And this intimate moment is flattened

Or is it hollow?
Because sometimes when you touch me

I can still hear the sound of another man’s husky laugh
echoing in the silence


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