365 Days ago I woke up a wife and went to bed a widow.  365 days ago my life as I knew it came to a screeching halt.  365 days ago I kissed my husband good bye and said I love you for the last time.  365 days ago I started a new unplanned journey that I never wanted.

Those 1st few days I can remember everything so clearly almost as if it just happened.  But then the next few months are such a blur. The thought of living life without him has been so overwhelming.  I have cried myself to sleep so many nights.  I have cried watching TV.  I have cried driving to and from work and I have cried while sitting at my desk at work.  I have cried while taking a walk and I have cried while taking a shower.  Somedays it seemed the tears would never stop.

I think it was at least 7 months before I made it a whole day without crying.  I honestly didn’t believe that day would ever come.  I started to think that I had permanently damaged the area around my eyes.

Throughout all of this I got up each day and went to work.  I smiled when I was supposed to and even laughed when it was warranted.  All the time feeling a sadness in me that has taken over so much of who I am.  But I get up each day and try to find new things to keep me busy and to carve out a new future for myself.  My future was tied to Pat.  We had planned out such a wonderful picture of what we thought our life was going to be.  So now I am trying new things and starting new hobbies.  Trying to figure out the near term and hoping that I can turn something into a long term future.

While the thought of never seeing him again is still so extremely overwhelming and I still cry myself to sleep many nights.  I still cry watching TV and driving and at so many other times of my day.  I have noticed lately that I have actually laughed a few times and really felt it — and that is NEW.  I have not really laughed since that morning 365 days ago.  I feel like there is a little ray of light peeking into my life right now and with that comes some guilt that I have laughed and felt again without Pat.  But I know this is a part of being alive and he would want me to bask in that ray of light again.

I know if I keep trudging forward each day and give it the best I have that day (and some days that is not much) I will be able to feel some happiness and excitement again.

It doesn’t mean I don’t miss Pat every single day (and most times every single minute).  It just means that I am still living and because of that I must actually live.

This last year has been about surviving.  Surviving each day without him and without a future.  My future was taken away when Pat was taken from me 365 days ago.    I know I need to move from surviving to living again and creating a new future.   And that is a difficult transition to make.  I feel like I am on the side of a mountain trying to make my way to the top.  I am hanging on for dear life and trying to move one step closer each day.  Some days I have to take a break and some days I have to move a step back down the mountain to get my footing but if I keep going I will eventually get to the top.

We all grieve in different ways and we all get to different stages at different times. As we all know we sometimes take huge steps forward and other days we take huge steps back.  So for all of you that are just starting out on this unwanted journey please know as much as it doesn’t seem possible you will smile again one day and actually mean it.  When that happens will be on your own time table and it can’t be rushed.

As I move into day 366 without Pat I hope to smile a little more than I did last year and to remember the motto he lived by which is life is too short and it must be lived to its fullest.



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.