So much has changed since Jared died. I often find myself thinking, if he hadn’t died things would be so different.


I wouldn’t have so much fear. I wouldn’t have so much anxiety. I wouldn’t have PTSD from holding my husband in my arms as he took his last breath. I wouldn’t worry about being a solo mom. I wouldn’t struggle to make ends meet.  


I wouldn’t know my own strength. I wouldn’t know that I could survive on my own. I wouldn’t know that I can be both mom and dad. I wouldn’t know that my son and I could have a incredible bond that nothing and no one could break.  


I wouldn’t know what it means to be a “young” widow. I wouldn’t know how to plan a funeral for my 37-year-old husband.  I wouldn’t know what it’s feels like to tell my young son that his daddy died.


I wouldn’t have found my tribe at Camp Widow. I wouldn’t know how fulfilling it is to help a new widow on her journey.  I wouldn’t know the amazing people I have met on this journey.


I wouldn’t worry that my new husband might die. I wouldn’t worry about blending a family. I wouldn’t worry that I’m failing as a step-mom.


If Jared were still here, so much would be different. We would still be madly in love. Enjoying each other’s company. Traveling the world. Raising our child. Instead, he died. And I was forced to pick up the pieces of my life and move forward. It wasn’t easy. And it still isn’t.  


I didn’t want to get up that first day after he died. But I had to. I had a child who needed a mother. And more than once, that little boy has been my reason to go forward and keep living.


If Jared were here things would be different.  But he can’t be here. So I had to forged forward. Make a new life for myself and my son. And I like my life now. I like who I am now. I like that I was willing to open my heart to love again.  


If Jared were here things would be different. But I’m not the same person I was the day he died. I have changed a lot in the last 4 1/2 years. And now I have someone new in my life.  And I love him. And I wouldn’t trade being his wife.


If Jared were here, things would be so different.  But his death and his life changed me so very much. Made me who I am today. And our time together gave me so many great memories to treasure forever.  So instead of wishing he could be here and being sad that he’s not, I am going to be grateful for all the time we did have. All the memories we made. For all the adventures we took together.


Yes, things would be different if Jared hadn’t died. But who would I be?



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.