Today marks 4 years since my late husband’s Celebration of Life.  Family and friends came to honor Jared, share stories of his life, and show their support.  It was a day full of love.


Today my Facebook memories were full of pictures from that day.  And you know what I noticed? Besides all the people gathered to show their love for Jared, their support for Steven and I?  I noticed that my eyes were empty. I was smiling the appropriate smile but my eyes were empty. No emotion. No feelings. Just blank.  

Our friend made a surfboard for my son.  Notice my eyes are blank.


So I started looking at other photos from that time. My eyes were empty.  I smiled. I laughed. I cried (a lot) but my eyes were always blank. Absolutely no emotion.  


I realize now that I was going through the motions, saying and doing the appropriate things.  I was existing. I was surviving. But I wasn’t living. I was beyond sad. I was numb. I was empty.  And looking back, that is so obvious by the look in my eyes.


Now I wonder, when did I actually start feeling? When did my eyes start showing emotion again?  How long was it before I started living and not just existing? I can’t honestly answer that question.  I know it was definitely NOT that first year. I remember being in Hong Kong with my son about 20 months after Jared died and I woke up thinking “I want to live, really live.”  So I guess it must have been about that time that the light came back into my eyes.


Four years ago we celebrated the life of my first forever love.  We watched a video of Jared that our dear friend made. We wrote messages on paper lanterns and sent them to heaven.  We told stories of a man who lived more in 37 years than most do in a lifetime. I have pictures to prove I was there.  That I participated. But I don’t remember much of that day. I don’t remember most of the stories. I do remember that my son wrote on his lantern “I miss you daddy.”  That I will never forget.

Sending a lantern to heaven


Four years ago my eyes were blank.  Empty. Lifeless. Today they smile. They sparkle.  They are full of life. Today my eyes are no longer emotionless.  Today they show they love I will always feel for Jared. Today they show the joy I feel when I think of his life.  


Carla always knew she would be a widow but didn’t have any idea how it would actually feel. When Carla met her late husband Jared, he was waiting for a lung transplant due to Cystic Fibrosis, a chronic disease affecting the lungs and pancreas. So she knew that most likely someday she would say goodbye to her husband. But she never dreamt it would be exactly one week before their 14th wedding anniversary. In August 2014, Jared was diagnosed with a rare bacterial infection in his transplanted lung and was expected to survive at least 6 months if not a year. Instead, he died just 6 weeks later. And in the blink of an eye, Carla became a solo mom to their 10-year-old son. And even though her life was forever marked before and after, she was determined to live life to the fullest because her husband would expect no less.

She founded Breathing for Jared, a Foundation to provide college scholarships to those suffering from lung disease in honor of her late husband. Became a supporter of the CF Foundation and Donate Life. And discovered that writing out her emotions and fears on her blog Transplant Wife and Widow helped her to process her grief

Carla recently remarried and is now blending a family with her new husband, bonus daughter, and son.