One thing I can definitely say about my life, is that it did not go as planned.


Almost 19 years ago I stood in the church and said I do to my husband. Vowed to love him until death do us part.  I never thought that exactly one week before our 14th wedding anniversary he would take his final breath. Instead of celebrating 14 years of love, I celebrated alone. With tears and heartache. Wondering how I would ever survive. How I would ever make it through. How I could live without the man that had truly become my other half.


But I did survive. I didn’t have any other choice. I had a child who needed a mother. I had bills that had to be paid. I had responsibilities at work. Yes, I wanted to lay in the bed, pull the covers over my head and just cry. But that was not an option. So instead I got up every day, went to work, tried to be the best parent I could, and somehow I made it through.  But my life was no longer the one I had planned.


Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I would meet someone new. That God would send a new love to me. A man who would make my heart race and my head spin. A man who would make me forget that I vowed never to love again. A man who would make me want to love again. To trust again. To risk death for happiness.  That was definitely not part of my plan.


I had no idea, what saying yes to that man would do to my life. How many changes we would go through.  The struggles of blending a family. That the trauma of being a widow would add a different dynamic to our relationship. That his past as a divorced man with an only child would alter his perception of relationships.  That our life together would be an uphill battle. One we would have to fight together.


When I married my new husband, I became a stepmom to a teenage girl. For those of you that don’t know, I have always been a boy mom. I have a teenage son. I’m very comfortable with athletic events, dirt, bugs, and gross sounds and smells. That’s the life of a boy mom.  I come from a very large family and could not imagine my child being an only, I always wanted more children. But alas, that was not in the cards for me. But how was I to know that God had a different plan? All these years later, He has given me another child. In a way I never could have imagined. Instead of a bouncing baby to love and mold, He gave me a teenage girl with her own set of ideals and attitude.  I have no idea how to be a girl mom but I’m learning. Being a stepmom was definitely never part of my plan.


My life definitely did not go as planned. I never planned to bury my 37-year-old husband. I never planned to be the dreaded W word, widow. I never planned to fall in love again. I never planned to get remarried. I never planned to be a stepmom. And yet that is my life.


If my life had gone as planned, Jared and I would be planning what we would do to celebrate our 20th anniversary next year. We would be raising our son together. He would have been here to help make all the big decisions. Instead I have made way too many decisions alone. I will celebrate our wedding anniversary alone for the rest of my life.

I am raising our son, hoping and praying I am doing Jared proud.


My life definitely did not go as planned. It is different then I could have ever imagined. But it is still good. And that’s because I chose to make it good. Is it better? Not necessarily but it is equally as good. Is it worse? Definitely not. I have a good life. I am happy. I have a husband who loves me. Children who are thriving and succeeding. A son that makes his father proud every day. I have amazing friends who have been there through all the ups and downs. I have a family who always supports me. I have been able to travel the world and make countless memories. I have a life that many would pray for. And even though my life did not go as planned, I am happy with the life I have now. I am so very blessed.


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.