I am a widow. I never wanted to be a young widow.  I never wanted to bury my 37-year-old husband. When Jared first died, I loathed the word widow. It made my skin crawl. I did not want to be a widow. Widows were old ladies with gray hair who had spent their entire life with their love.  And I certainly didn’t want to be one. But then I went to Camp Widow. And I realized widow could be a badge of honor. Widow means I was someone’s last love. That my late husband loved me until he took his last breath. That I was someone’s forever. And what an honor that is. And from that moment forward, I was proud to be a widow. Changing my thought process, changed my whole attitude.


Widow to me now means warrior.

Widow means strength.

Widow means tribe.

Widow means love.

Widow means honor.


I still don’t want to be a widow. I would much rather have my late husband here. Alive. Part of our lives. Sharing in all the joys. Helping me overcome the sorrows. Making new memories. But, that is not an option. Instead, I am indeed a widow. But I refuse to let that word define me.


I may be a widow, but I am so much more.

I am a fighter.

I am a survivor.

I am a mother.

I’m a nurse practitioner.

I’m a friend.

I am a daughter.

And I’m a wife.  


Widowhood is a part of my life. Being Jared’s widow, has changed my life. Shaped who I am now.  Made me into the woman who shares her story to help other widows. The woman who travels the world to find my truth.  


Being a widow, forever changed me.

I am a champion of other widows.

I am a believer that sharing our stories is vital to healing.

I am a voice to remind others that there are no rules to grieving.


I will always be Jared’s widow.  And I am so grateful for the life I shared with him.  His life Inspired me. Showed me love is unconditional.  Taught me to not let anyone else’s opinions define me. Gave me the courage to live and love again after his death.


I am a widow.

But I am so much more.  

I am a woman who is living life.

I am a woman who has surpassed my own expectations.

I am a woman who is thriving despite or because of great loss.

I am a woman who was willing to open my heart to love again.

I am a woman who never says no to an adventure.


Yes, I am a widow. But I am so much more.



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.