I Wanted to Grow Old With You: A Widow's First Year of Grief in Poetry

I Wanted to Grow Old With You: A Widow's First Year of Grief in Poetry

by Katherine Billings Palmer


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Ten months after being diagnosed with small cell lung cancer, and four months after being pronounced in remission, Rick Palmer died unexpectedly as the result of a freak accident. His wife, Katherine, turned to writing to cope with her grief. "I Wanted to Grow Old With You" is a collection of poems from her first year of mourning. From the initial prose stream-of-consciousness musings to the transition to conventional poetry, each poem conveys the poignancy and pain resulting from the loss of the man she loved. 

Losing a spouse is a unique circumstance that affects one's entire being, including disruption of daily habits and routines; loss of one's confidant, best friend, and sexual partner; coping with the pain of separation, and even the destruction of future plans, hopes, and dreams. These poems touch on many of these aspects of grieving, as well as grief triggers, and the different stages of grief. Each poem is evidence of the trials of becoming a widow or widower.

Anyone who has lost a loved one will find themselves in this collection. The author explains the inspiration for many of the poems in an introduction to the works, from the first crude expressions of grief to the later metered verse. "I Wanted to Grow Old With You" is a book for anyone, young or old, who has felt the pain of grief and separation following a loved one's death, and especially for the widow.

I Wanted to Grow Old With You

I wanted to grow old with you, but fate had other plans.
I vowed to love you until death as we stood holding hands.
We pledged to be together until our lives were through.
I thought we'd spend the golden years ahead, just me and you.

I know you'd be here if you could, you tried so hard to live.
You struggled to rise every day, gave all you had to give.
If love alone could save you, you'd still be here with me.
If love alone could bring you back, how lovely life would be.

But no one lives forever, so I go on alone.
I'm finding my "new normal," attempting to move on.
The silence now is deafening, the empty bed brings tears
I dream of you most every night; I hope I will for years.

I look for signs that you're around, perhaps I've gone insane
But I miss you so desperately, I'll grasp at anything.
Our memories are all I have; I guess they'll have to do.
I'm thankful for the years we had; so grateful I found you.

I know that I am fortunate, that some will never know
A love like ours, the joy we shared, before you had to go.
I miss your touch, your gentleness, your laughter, and your care
And now the pain at what I've lost is more than I can bear.

Our vows still echo in my head from on our special day
Our wedding song exactly voiced the words we longed to say...

You sang, "Grow old along with me,"
You said the best was yet to be.
We vowed til death that we'd be true
I wanted to grow old with you.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781538095690
Publisher: Barnes & Noble Press
Publication date: 08/30/2018
Pages: 88
Sales rank: 652,037
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.18(d)

About the Author

Katherine Billings Palmer is a technical writer, poet, and essayist from Garden City, Michigan. She has won several academic writing awards, including first place in the University of Michigan Dearborn Critical Essay Contest for her work about poet John Donne: “’The Sun Rising’: A Lover’s Boast.”

In 2017, Katherine’s husband, Rick, died of complications from small cell lung cancer. Since then, she has written a series of poems and essays about her struggles to cope with her grief. She is a guest blogger for the Hope for Widows Foundation and you can visit her at www.TheWritingWidow.com.

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