I recently began my journey into year five of this widow life.  And so much has changed from that first year. And some things will always remain the same.  


When I think of my late husband now, I smile. I remember his laugh. I remember the brilliant blue of his eyes. I remember how it felt when he would stand behind me and wrap his arms around me. I remember falling asleep next to him. I remember smiling and laughing.  I remember feeling so very loved.


During that first year, and even well into the second year, when I thought of Jared my first instinct was to cry. To be so sad for all that he was missing. To mourn all that would never be. My first thought often would be of how he died. It was hard to remember how he lived.


During the first two years, I couldn’t, wouldn’t allow myself to be happy. To feel joy. I I thought laughing and enjoying life would be dishonoring him. Yes, I took our son on adventures and we made new memories but my eyes never shone and my heart always ached.  Each day my first thought was he should be here.


But now, now as I jump into year five I know that the best way to honor him is to live my best life. To live a life full of love. Laughter. Of joy. That Jared would want nothing less for me.  And yes, I still think I was he was here. But it’s not my first thought every day. I still think that when celebrating any milestones for our son. The big days. But that is no longer my first waking thought.


During the first year or two, I worried that I would forget. Would forget how Jared made me feel. Would forget all the little things that made him who he was.  Would forget all the little things that made our life together so very special. I wouldn’t throw anything away, pack up his belongings, or change anything in our house because I was so afraid doing so might make me forget something. Forget something about our lives.  Forget my love.


And now, now I know I will never forget. Yes I may not remember all the exact moments.  I may not remember a conversation word for word. I may not remember every detail of our life together.  But I know I will never forget the things that mattered. I will NEVER forget him. There’s no way I could forget him, he is a part of me. A part of my soul. A part of my heart. And that can never be forgotten.


During that first year, I worried about disappointing him. I worried that my life was changing and I would no longer be able to live by the plan we had previously laid out. I worried that he would not agree with the decisions I now had to make alone.


And now, four years later and working on year five, I realize that he would have expected me to adapt. To live in the now. To make decisions based on the information I have at the present time. That he knew my life would change and therefore so would the plan.  


During that first year, I missed him.  So much it physically hurt. I wished he could come back. I wished he could answer all my questions.  I wished he could give me advice and tell me what he would do. And I still do. Time has not changed that. And I don’t think any amount of time ever could.


So much has changed from that first year. And some things will always remain the same.  I will always miss Jared. I will always love him. I will always wish he could be here for those special moments.  But I also know I have to live for me. That I can honor my past while embracing my future. That I will always carry Jared in my heart.  And I don’t need an old pair of boxers or his toothbrush to remember the love we will always share.



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.