National Grief Awareness Day is upon us again.  I don’t think we can actually say that we are celebrating the day because let’s be honest, nobody wants to celebrate grief as much as it is a day to bring awareness to the painful process of grieving.

Twenty One months ago I lost my spouse suddenly and my life and heart were shattered.  I remember so clearly how the very act of breathing felt impossible. About 5 days after his services my sister sent me the link to where I could join the Hope for Widows Private Facebook group through Hope Connect. I reached out on this night when I was by myself and over 100 other widows responded to my post to offer hope and comfort at a time I could see none.

As the days, weeks and months went by I continued to follow this site and started reading the stories of other women and how they were handling their loss.  Looking back on those months i realize i was just trying to survive each day. In the beginning I woke up each morning and prayed i could make it through the work day and get back home to go to sleep just to find that sleep would not come.  I think a lot of those first few months were about surviving the day only to move into a stage of surviving life. I went through the motions most days and made plans even though most of this was just to keep busy and make it through another day.   Even though I kept myself busy there was alway the emptiness. Trying to plan for the future was just too painful to even think about because the future that I knew died the day Pat died.   

Somewhere along the way a slight shift happened.  I woke up one day and realized that I shifted from just trying to survive to trying to live again.  Unless you have experienced this kind of loss i am not sure you can understand how difficult that is.  I started to WANT to feel happy again. This doesn’t mean i was all of a sudden happy. It was kind of like a  little ray of sunshine peeking through the clouds. Actually wanting to be happy again seemed so foreign because there were days I didn’t think that could ever happen.  I still do not have a handle on what it is that will make me happy or in what direction I want my life to go but it at least feels like I am moving in the right direction.

Throughout these 21 months i have read many other women’s stories through the blogs on Hope for Widows

Hope For Widows Foundation Blogs

All of these women are in different stages of widowhood.  It is encouraging to see how each of the women have moved through their grief and balanced life at the same time.  We all grieve differently and take different paths in life but I found hope by reading the stories of the widows that had gone before me.

As I continue to move forward in my life and make plans for my future i would like to wish all the women here  peace and comfort as you work on surviving your days. To the women that made that slight shift to wanting to live and be happy again I say keep hanging on and moving forward!   For those who have found that happiness again (whatever that means to you) I say congratulate yourself it has been a rough road!  



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.