The night my husband died I was left with a broken heart and shattered life.   I felt broken.  I have suffered quite a bit of loss in my life and I have grieved and been sad and been depressed but never broken.  As I have gone through this year of grieving I have realized what a negative word that is to everyone.  Everyone wants to say that you are too strong to be broken by this.  Society has a very negative view of what it means to be broken by a deep loss.  When I look at it I see that I was strong enough to love someone so much that losing him has left me in pieces.  I loved so deeply that I don’t see how I could walk away from this and not be broken.

As I have found myself in pieces I am learning how to build myself back up as I go along.  I might not come out the same person I was before this but I will build myself up stronger then I was before because of allowing myself to be completely broken by my loss and acknowledging it and experiencing it.  For being brave enough to take the chance and love with all my heart.

Our society places such strong opinions on how people handle loss.  We are expected to be strong and move on.  Not to breakdown and show how much pain we are in.  We are expected to go back to work and take care of the children and the household and to hide our feelings of grief because they make people uncomfortable.

This is why organizations like the Hope for Widows community are so important.  They give us all a chance to see it is ok to grieve and to feel our loss.  I have been fortunate enough to also have a widows support group in my area that has allowed me to be around people in my age group that have lost a husband.  Through both of these outlets I have learned that how I feel is ok and even normal.  That feeling and acknowledging my grief is an important step to rebuilding myself.

I have been brought to my knees so many days since losing Pat.  I have prayed for the strength to get back up.  And each time I have fallen I have gotten back up and pushed through the grief until I could smile again.

I see being broken by this loss as a strength not a weakness.  Being strong enough to love.  Being strong enough to get back up each time I fall to my knees.  Being strong enough to keep living with a shattered heart and being strong enough to have hope through the darkness.

I hope by talking about this and shining a light on grief in our communities we can start changing our society from seeing grief as a weakness and something we need to get over to realizing how much strength it takes to grieve and continue with life.


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.