Life is normal now. I’m me, and I’m alone, and it’s okay.

And then, suddenly, it’s not.

When things are going well, I enjoy my life alone so much that I barely want to date. I have no desire to find the next companion, partner, potential mate. I’ve come to terms with life on my own. I’ve actually done better than simply come to terms with it. I’m thriving. In the first few years after Rick’s death, I never thought this was possible, and I’m surprised and thrilled about it.

I’m living a dream life: socializing with friends and family, taking trips to my cottage for little writing retreats, going to bed late and sleeping in, dining out, going to movies, and taking all the time I desire to read novels and write poetry.

I’m retired, I’m single, I’m financially independent, and I most certainly do not need a man – especially one who’s looking for a nurse with a purse/housekeeper/cook – which seemed to be the goal of the last few men I dated.

I loved Rick with all my heart, and we had a good marriage, so it’s not like I don’t like the idea of marriage itself. Everyone who knew us knew that we had a honeymoon kind of love for years. We argued, but we made up. We got on each other’s nerves, so we went about enjoying our separate hobbies and when we rejoined each other in the evening, it was usually honeymoon time, again. I remember a friend once asked if I had ever gotten really angry with him, and I said sure – I remember we were driving somewhere and I was so mad that I didn’t speak to him the whole hour in the car. The laughter that ensued by a couple of friends within hearing distance reminded me that an hour of silence wasn’t as bad as it gets in a lot of marriages. So my outlook on marriage is pretty positive.

But my life is better than I expected now that I’ve grieved a few years, gotten it together, and made a new life for myself. I’ve dated a couple of guys that had potential mate possibilities until I got to know them better, and each time I’m between men, I realize I’m not sure I even want to give up this fantastic single life I’m enjoying.

And then bad things happen, as they do in all our lives. And I miss coming home to my special guy, my safe place, the man who made me feel like I wasn’t alone in the world.

When we married, Rick and I became a team. He became the person I felt so safe with that the scary world outside wasn’t so scary any more. And he gave the best hugs – the “lift-you-off-your-feet” kind of hug.

I don’t “need” a man. I can cope with Rick being gone. I have picked myself up and rewritten my life and I enjoy it, for the most part. But, when I hear bad news, feel a little down, get the flu, read about genocide and war… when the power goes out, when I’m snowed in, when life hits harder than usual, it’s tough facing those things alone.

Sometimes, things just start to add up. I’m getting over a two-week bout of bronchitis (and I missed having someone here to bring me water or chicken soup and cover me when I was cold). Yesterday was my dad’s birthday and I miss him. Today was an old friend’s birthday. She died last year. And several of my friends and loved ones are battling medical issues. It’s just been a lot of “stuff,” and I’m kind of down. And that’s when I miss having my partner the most, and I think perhaps I should continue this search for someone to share my life with.

Maybe I don’t truly believe it can happen again, that there’s anyone who will mesh with me like Rick did. Is there any other guy who will respect my intelligence and independence, make me laugh, challenge me, and be there for me when I need him the most? Will I find another man who can pull me into his arms and make me feel safe?

Rick’s love helped me cope with the hardships of life. His love carried me through the tough times. His hugs were the best thing on earth. And sometimes, you just want to come home and vent about what’s bothering you and get a hug. To come home to that safe place the two of you built together. And now that place is gone.

And that’s what I miss.


Save the dates! Join us for the 2024 Widows of Hope 5K, taking place May 10-12! This annual initiative encourages activity while raising awareness for the 245 million widowed women worldwide and honoring loved ones. Additionally, May 3rd, National Widows Day, when we’ll reopen applications for our Restoring Hope and Peace Grant. Learn more here: and continue to lookout on all our social media platforms for updates.


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