I will never forget the night Jared died.
The night I held him in my arms as he took his last breath.
The night my world changed.

Going to bed that night hugging Jared’s pillow.  My heart shattered in a way I never imagined possible. Wishing God had just taken us all together.  Finally crying myself to sleep. Waking up the next morning thinking it was all a terrible dream. Only to realize my nightmare was real.  My husband was dead. I was a widow. A young widow with a 10 year old son to raise. All by myself. Solo. Because the man who used to share that responsibility with me had gone home to heaven.

What the hell was I supposed to do now?
How could I go on living without Jared?
Would anything ever feel normal again?  And what was normal now that my life had been turned upside down?

As the days turned into weeks and the weeks into months, I realized that I was numb.  That I was walking thru life, surviving but not living. Then the numbness wore off. And suddenly I felt hopeless. Terrified I would mess everything up and Steven would suffer because of it.  Completely unsure how to do this thing called life, alone.

But thankfully I had amazing friends and my widow tribe to see me through.  And with a lot of work and time, my grief changed. It never got better. But it did get easier to manage.  Eventually, I could smile at the memories instead of cry. I could be thankful for what was instead of just missing what would never be.  I could start to think about living again. Begin to discover who I was now and who I wanted to be.

None of that happened overnight.  And it didn’t happen easily. I still have bad days.  Bad moments in good days. Am brought to my knees by unexpected grief triggers.  But I recover better now. Pick myself up faster now. Remind myself I want to make Jared proud.  I still have a purpose. A life to live.

Despite my resistance, I started to heal.  Wanted to live. To be happy again. To look forward to my next adventure.   And I decided to trust myself. To allow myself to feel again. To begin again.   Yes, my heart will always have a scar. A place that will always carry Jared’s love.  But it is able to beat again.

I will never forget the night Jared died.
Or how much I wanted to die too.
But I’m grateful I trusted in God’s plan.
And now I am doing more than surviving. I’m thriving.  
And I know Jared would be proud.


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.