I can’t help but dread this time of year. Most people would think it would be the anniversary of Jared’s death.  But the five weeks from Mother’s Day to Father’s Day are some of the most difficult days for me. There are five grief days, five trigger days in five weeks.  Five days that are a reminder of Jared’s absence. Five days that are a reminder of what was. Five days that are a reminder of what can never be. Five days of grief in five weeks.


First is Mother’s Day.  A day in which I will be  spoiled, pampered, and feel completely loved by my son and my new husband.  Yet, I will miss Jared. He gave me my greatest gift, my amazing son. And he always made Mother’s Day special.  He will always be remembered on Mother’s Day.


Next is Steven’s birthday. This year it is another milestone birthday.  He turns 15 and gets his driving permit. A day I wish his dad was here to see. A birthday that I wish Jared could celebrate with us.


Then comes Jared’s birthday.  I always made a big deal out of his birthday and still do.  This year, we will still celebrate it on a family cruise. We will share stories of the man that Jared was. We will eat pizza and drink beer, because that’s what he would have liked. We will celebrate his birthday. But the guest of honor will be noticeably absent.


Five days later is my birthday.  We never really did anything big on my birthday, I usually had dinner or lunch with my girlfriends.  But Jared and I always celebrated “our” birthdays together. Did something special, just the two of us.  My new husband spoils me and makes a big deal out of birthday and yet I still miss celebrating “our” birthdays together.


Last is Father’s Day. And on this day, Jared’s absence will be profoundly felt.  Steven cannot give his dad a Father’s Day card. He cannot shop for a special gift for his dad. Steven cannot pose for a picture with his dad. There’s no giving Jared a hug and saying Happy Father’s Day. We will celebrate Jared. We will talk about him and what an amazing dad he was.  We will miss him. And though Steven and I will celebrate my new husband, that in no way replaces the ache left in our souls because his dad is celebrating in heaven. No matter how our life changes, one thing will always be the same. Jared will always be Steven’s dad.

Five days in five weeks.


Five days that are poignant reminders that Jared is gone.  


Five days that remind us of just how much life has changed.

Five days that remind us of what will never be again.

Five days that are also celebrations of life, love, and blessings.

Five days that are bittersweet.

Five days that remind me that Jared is missing from our celebrations.

Five days that remind me that I am loved.

Five days that remind me that I am blessed to have so much to celebrate.

Five days that remind me that life post loss is a careful balance.

Five days that I can chose to feel the pain or I can chose to feel the joy.

Five days that I can chose to focus on what is missing or I can to chose to honor all that I have.

Five days I can chose to focus on what never will be or I can choose to focus on what is right in front of me.

Five days I can chose to curl up and let grief take over or I can chose to find the moments of joy.

Five days of choosing between the bitter and the sweet.


I am grateful to have so many wonderful memories.  So many days full of love and laughter. Thankful for all the pictures and videos of those special days so Steven will always know what those celebrations were like.  But while I try to focus on the positive, remember and be grateful for all the birthdays, Mother’s Days, and Father’s Days we were able to celebrate together, I can’t help but be a little sad that we will never get to celebrate those days together again.  That doesn’t mean these days won’t be fun, joyous occasions. It just means I am aware that I will have sad moments during these good days. Moments where my grief is stronger and needs to be acknowledged. Moments where I will stop, think about Jared, and hopefully smile instead of cry. Moments where I will say I wish Jared were here


These next five weeks will be difficult.  There will be moments of sadness. But there will also be moments of joy.  Laughter will be heard. I will choose to find a balance between the bitter and the sweet.  A balance that works for me. A balance that let’s me live my life while honoring my late husband. Because when we have deeply loved someone, we never really lose them.  Even though he may be gone, Jared will always be a part of us.


We are in a good place again, happy, and trying to live life to the fullest.  And Jared would be so proud. Five days in five weeks. Is it any wonder why this time of year is my own personal grief hell?



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.