“What is in a Year?”

I’m not even sure I know how to answer that question.  I tell people all the time that I lost a year of my life.  I remember very little of this past year.  I have been walking in a fog.  I am coming up on a year since Pat died and I have never dreaded a date as much as I do now.  I know it is just another day and I try to tell myself that all the time.  But the closer I get the harder it gets.  Right now I feel like I am reliving last year.  Each day, each memory it all feels so real like it is still happening. And the more I remember the last time we did something together the closer I get to the last day I saw him.  To kissing him good bye that morning and saying I love you.    To my drive home when he sent his last text message to me asking me if I was almost home – he got home from work 1st so he was making dinner. To just mere minutes later when I pulled over for the ambulance and fire truck not realizing they were going to my house.  To turning the corner and my stomach dropping as I saw the paramedics running into my house.  To those long steps that I ran from the car to house to see my husband on the living room floor and my step son running to hug me.   Remembering all of the questions being asked frantically as they worked on him and I stood in shock watching helplessly.  Coming to the realization that it had been too long and knowing in my heart they could not save him.    To those final precious moments when life was still good and happy.

So I ask again “What is in a year?

While eating dinner with my step sons last night I realized how much they have turned into fine young men in the year since losing their dad.  The oldest graduated from college in May – Pat would be so proud of him.  And the youngest just started his 2nd year of college.  He had to grow up so quickly from just a boy last year into the responsible caring young man he has become.  Watching them I realize how much Pat missed in this year seeing all the years of love and nurturing that helped shape them into who they are today.

I have also noticed the difference in me.  I have gotten older and I think the grief of this year has made me feel even older.  I walked out of work with a coworker yesterday and saw how light and radiant she looked.  She looked happy.  Walking beside her I felt so heavy.  She walked with a bounce and I felt like I was barely dragging my feet along.  A year of grief can do that to you.  I am not sure Pat would recognize the heavy hearted person I have become this year.  I thought a lot last night about how I feel now and when I used to feel like my coworker.  It seems so long since I felt that light hearted.  I look forward to the day when I can feel at least a little lighter hearted then I do today.  I am hoping that this next year I can get back to a person that Pat would recognize.  One that can laugh and be carefree.

So I guess my answer to “What is in a year?” would be a lot.  Whether it is a year of heartbreaking grief or a year filled with planning a wedding or looking forward to a baby.  Whether we are just pushing through each day as best as we can to get to the next or we are living on a high of happiness.  A lot changes in a year especially when we aren’t looking.  Children grow up and move on whether we are here or not.  People grow older and wiser even if we don’t want to.

As I look back on the fateful night of November 2nd I never thought I could live through the night with the horrific pain I felt in my heart let alone survive all these months without him.

I know there is a part of me that has been changed forever.  I don’t think there is any way around that when you lose someone that was a part of your very heart and soul.  I am trying to find some peace and happiness in doing things that we planned to do and living the life we planned as best as I can and in watching his boys grow into the men he helped shape and finding joy in seeing what he is not able to.


Eileen Clarke is an average everyday woman whose life was torn apart on November 2, 2017 with the sudden loss of her husband Patrick (Pat).

She is now in the process of taking a journey that she never asked for but must take nonetheless. Her hope that in sharing her journey she may be able to help other woman as she embarks on her own unplanned journey of grief and rebuilding.