The 43rd annual People of the Year Awards took place live on RTE last night and a Laois woman was among the winners.
Following the death of her husband in 2008, Ballinakill’s Colette Byrne set up the website widow.ie in 2009, with up to 200 people a day visiting the forum.
Her first Christmas without her husband was spent both grieving for him and learning how to setup a website.
She picked up the ‘Everyday Hero’ prize at the Rehab awards last night.
Speaking to Midlands 103, Colette says she wants to encourage people to understand it’s okay to grieve.
She said: “It is normal, the pain that you go through. Because you do doubt yourself.
“You wonder, ‘Oh my God, what is going on?’ and you are also afraid as well.
“You are afraid of the next thing. There is fear and there is loss and sorrow.
“So just to know from others that yes, you can survive this, life does get better.
“It will be slow, but that is ok. It is ok to grieve, ok to feel those emotions.”
Now in its 43rd year, the People of the Year Awards is the longest-running awards event and widely recognised as one of the highest accolades a person can receive in Ireland.
Based on nominations received from the public, the People of the Year Awards honours unsung heroes who have made a difference in the lives of others, to household names who’ve made a difference to people’s lives on a national and international level.
Chosen by the public through an open nominations process, the winners are then finalised by an adjudicating committee comprising leading members of RTÉ, Rehab, community, public, business and media sectors.
Widow.ie is open 24/7 to all ages and there is nearly always someone coming and going at different times of the day and late evenings.