I have been thinking about love.  And how it changes. Changes people.  Changes relationships. Changes over time.


Love changed my life 21 years ago when I met Jared and again 2.5 years ago when I met Jon.   Compared to 5 years ago, hell 3 years, my life has changed dramatically because of love. While grief will always be a part of my life and bittersweet has become a word in my vocabulary, new love has helped me to further heal my broken heart.  My first love changed me in ways I can’t explain. Over the years, as we changed our love changed. My new love showed me love is worth the risk of heartache. That the joys can far outweigh the fears.


Opening myself up to love after loss was by no means easy. It was absolutely terrifying.  Knowing my heart could be broken again. That forever was not guaranteed. That death could once again rob me of my joy.  


Harder yet was asking my son to open his heart to love.  I never envisioned having a conversation with Steven about my dating status and if he was willing to accept others into our family.  I had vowed NEVER to fall in love again. To NEVER get married again. But taking a risk on love provided me with an opportunity to talk to my son about how our hearts are capable of expanding to love multiple people.  That people are not replaceable. And loving someone new doesn’t mean we have to stop loving those who have died. Thankfully, he is a warm, kind, loving kid with a heart that knows no limits. A son who just wants his mom to be happy.


And he gave me the push I need to jump into new love with both feet.


If I had said no to love again, I would have missed out on all the joyous moments we’ve experienced these last 2 years. The adventures.  The laughters. And yes, even the painful times. All those moments, help to define who I am now. What my family looks like. What direction my life is headed.


Now that I know what I would be missing out on if I had closed off my heart to love, I am grateful fear did not stop me from taking a chance.  I would have missed the excitement of a first kiss. The butterflies in my stomach waiting for my someone special to arrive. Hearing I love you and seeing it reflected in his eyes.  Having a partner again. The joy of being a couple in love.


And I’m thankful my son was willing to accept my new love and our new family dynamic.  And that he knows his heart has room for both his dad and his stepdad. He can love them both.  And loving Jon does not in any way, shape, or form diminish his love for his dad.


My hope is that people will realize that love shared is multiplied, not divided.  That loving someone new doesn’t diminish the love we felt for someone before. That people are capable of loving more than one person. That we can never have too much love.  That we can love someone new because we experienced such a phenomenal, amazing love before. That just because we choose to love again, doesn’t mean we’ve stopped loving the person who died. Love doesn’t work that way.  It has amazing powers. And is limitless. We can never give, have, or share too much love.


Love can help heal many wounds.

Love can open us up to joy.

Love can be wonderful.

Love needs to be shared.

Love is worth the risk.  


I am so grateful I took the risk to love again. To open my heart. Even though forever isn’t guaranteed. I’ll take this love for as long as I can get. Life is too short to not spend it with those I love.


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.