Parents love their children in a manner that cannot be explained.  A love that makes you willing to give your life for someone else. A love that makes your own happiness less important than theirs.  A love that parents understand and share.  


After Jared died, I realized there was no one else on this earth who was going to love Steven like that again.  No one to share in the love of our child with me. No one else who has all those same memories. No one else to share in all those childhood stories.  No one else who would ever again love my son with the same emotions as I do. And for me, that is one of the hardest parts about being widowed. My son and I lost the other person who loved him completely.  Unconditionally. Above all us.  


When Jared died, Steven lost that unconditional love of one of his parents.  Yes, others love him but no one else will ever love him like his dad did. And even though my new husband loves Steven, it’s not the same.  He will never love Steven the way he loves his daughter. He will never love Steven the way I do or the way Jared did. Yes he will be an amazing parental figure to Steven, but he does not know the stories of Steven’s first 15  years. He can’t share in the memories of his first words, his first steps, his first day at school. Those are memories that I share with his dad. And that makes me sad. Makes me sad that the parent that shares those memories is no longer here. And can no longer share those times, those memories, those stories with Steven. 


And that makes my heart hurt.  My heart hurt for the child who lost his father way too young.  My heart hurt for the child who lost a piece of his innocence way too soon.  My heart hurt for the child who will never again be able to truly know the gift of empowering, unconditional love from his dad. 


And while Steven may never again hear his dad say I love you, I pray he can always feel it.  While he may never throw the football with his dad again, I hope he will always remember the games of football in the backyard.  While his dad May never again help him with his homework, I’m certain Steven will remember the countless times his dad leaned over the table to help him solve a math problem.  


Solo parenting has been one of the hardest parts of this widowed life.  Full of roller coaster emotions. And self doubt. Am I scaring my child?  Am I raising him right? How will I teach him all things a boy is supposed to learn from his dad?  Full of realizations that make your soul ache. That your child will forever be changed by losing his dad in elementary school.  That my dad is dead is a permanent part of his vocabulary. That you will have to make all the parenting decisions alone for the rest of his life.  But this solo parenting, widowed life can also be one of strength. One of survival. One of showing my son that while life will never again be what it was, it can be good again.  


But no matter how hard I try to ease the pain of losing his dad, sometimes a boy just needs his dad.  And I hope Steven knows his dad is always there. Tucked away safely in his heart. Just a thought away.


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.