Taking Time to Breathe

For the past 10 months (since I lost Pat) I have tried many different avenues of self-care to find some small spaces of time to take a break from grief.   These are some of the things that i do to keep myself going:

I BREATHE:  I know this might sound like it is just automatic.  But I have found this year there are many times I have to remind myself to BREATHE.  That I literally have to stop and say out loud BREATHE Eileen!  It’s amazing when you stop and very intentionally take deep breaths how incredibly calming it can be.

I WALK:   Preferably outside but when the weather doesn’t cooperate I walk on my treadmill.  I love to walk – it calms me and tires me out at the same time.  I could walk for hours and sometimes I do.  I walk with friends and I walk alone.  Sometimes with music and sometimes in silence.

I COOK:  I like to try new recipes and old ones too.  Sometimes they are surprisingly good and sometimes they turned out to be disasters but it keeps me busy and gives me something to focus on.  It’s fun to try new recipes and see what I can change to make it better and make it my own.  Baking season is beginning soon and I will start to do that also.

I TAKE A BATH:  I light a candle and fill the bath with bubbles and play music.  I try to let my mind rest and not think, just be. Sometimes it works and other times I end up in tears.  Either way I usually feel much more relaxed when I am done.

I READ:  Nothing like a good book to lose yourself in.  I love to read – I had a hard time after losing Pat being able to focus and actually sit down and read which was hard because reading was always something I loved to do.  I n the last month I have been able to do this again so this is a welcome retreat for me.

I MEDITATE:  Or at least I try.  Sometimes I listen to a guided meditation. Sometimes I just sit in legs up the wall yoga pose and try to blank my mind.  Sometimes I meditate in the form of the Rosary.  Anything to give my mind a break from constant thinking.

I WRITE:  Writing has helped me to express feelings that I can’t always talk about.  Somedays I write to Pat and update him on what’s going on.  I write to him about what I am doing and what the kids are doing. It makes me feel closer to him like we are talking.  Being a part of this wonderful blogging community for Hope for Widows has helped me so much.  Not only being able to express myself through my writing but also in reading other’s stories has made some very long nights a little more bearable.

I RUN:  When all else fails I run.  I run until I can’t (which by the way isn’t that long LOL).  I just try to run until the anxiety subsides and I can quiet my mind a little bit.

I CRY:  Sometimes there is nothing else to do but cry until the tears stop.  I have realized that there are times you just have to FEEL the grief and the pain and in those times I allow myself to cry as loud and as long as I need to.

Through all of this I try to remember to be kind to myself.  It is so easy to get frustrated with myself on how I am handling my grief.  To compare myself to others and think they are doing it better.   I have learned this year that nobody does it good or better we just all do it our way and in our time.

So for all of my fellow widows reading this, remember to be kind to yourself and give yourself a break from the hard work of grieving in whatever way works for you. And most important remember to BREATHE.



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.