I am organizing my house to make room for my new husband since he is planning to move here in two weeks. Finally, we will no longer have a long distance marriage.  But reorganizing my home to start a life with my new husband means reliving memories of my life with Jared. 


Merging two households into one, means deciding what to keep and what to let go.  We have decided to keep my new husband‘s bedroom set and donate mine to a needy family. And I was really OK with that until I realized that meant I will never againI sleep in the bed I shared with Jared. And with that thought, the tears streamed down my face.  And I could hear Jared clearly saying, Carla it is just furniture. You will always have the memories. Jared was the least materialistic person I have ever known. He would tell me not to worry about the furniture. That our love, the memories of our life together are forever.  That I didn’t need a bed to remind me of our love story.


I think for those who are not widowed, it must be different. I would assume that when a relationship ends for a reason other than death, that you wouldn’t want those tangible items. That you would want to get rid of them. Start fresh. But when your spouse dies, you cling to those memories. Hold on for dear life to anything tangible. And letting it go brings out the fear that you’re letting your spouse go.  And the thought that you are going to move forward without your spouse is terrifying.  


Even five years later.  Especially five years later.  I don’t want to think that I am forgetting. Saying goodbye to my past as I say hello to my future.  Instead, I want to bring my memories with me.


And at the same time. I realized that I have to move forward. Have to keep living. Make new memories. Build a life for the person I am now. Not the couple Jared and I used to be.  And yet, at the same time honor my past. Realize that without the great love Jared and I shared, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.


As I went through cabinets and drawers, I smiled at all the memories. And I shed a few tears as well. I surprised myself by the fact that I smiled more than I cried. I found notes Jared had left me over the years. Notes I had completely forgotten about.  And it is not lost on me, that I weren’t re-organizing to make room for my new husband, I wouldn’t have had the chance to smile at the memories.


Sometimes we have to move forward, embrace the new, to truly appreciate the past. We have to relive old memories to make new ones.  Honor the past to appreciate the new. The now. The future. 



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.