In 7 days it will be five years since my husband passed away. And that number is just heartbreaking. I don’t know why the fact that it has been five years is so hard. Hurtful. Devastating to my soul. But it is. 


Last Monday when I woke up, without having to look at the calendar, I knew it was September. And the depth of my heart ache told me the next two weeks would be extremely difficult.  Reliving all of our lasts. Thinking about all the things we said and did. How much we laughed. How much love we shared. And of course, thinking of all the things I wish I had done differently. If I had only known those last two weeks would be the last we would share together.


With the ache in my soul, I knew Monday was going to be a bad grief day.  Rather than try to hide my pain, I owned it. Embraced it. Let the feelings flow. 


I sat by the water near my house.  And cried. For 2 hours. Those heavy heart wrenching sobs.  Sobs I haven’t felt in quite some time but I knew I couldn’t stop.  I have learned that you never get over grief. It is always there. You learn to handle it better but it never goes away.  And when it hits you in full force, you just have to get through it. Face the emotions. Cry the tears. 


Except this time it was different. This is the first time my new husband and stepdaughter have been here to witness a bad grief day.  I knew my husband would be OK. He has held me as I cried for Jared before. And he often tells me to go visit Jared anytime just come back to him when I’m done. To watch the woman he loves cry over another man. Yes, he knows I love him. And he knows my continued love for Jared in no way diminishes my love for him.  Yet, it must be hard for him. And my stepdaughter has never seen a bad grief day. She’s never witnessed the soul breaking grief that comes with being widowed. And I was afraid to share my grief with her. But I took my husband’s advice and didn’t hide my pain. I let my grief out. I know it must be confusing for her. To know that I love her dad but long for what was. To know that I will always miss and love another.  And that on certain days, my heart just hurts. That’s our reality. Our life. One of loss and love.


Next week, the 16th, it will be 5 years.  Five years of loss. So much has changed in 5 years and he has missed it.  Seeing what he has missed in 5 years, makes me cry for all he will continue to miss.  I wish with all my soul that he could be here to see our son. Teach him all the things a boy learns from his dad.  Love him unconditionally like only a dad can. And because he can’t, the tears flow. As I sat by the water, I cried for what was.  What can never be. And the heartache that will never truly go away. 


Next Monday is bound to be a day of tears.  But hopefully it will also be one of smiles.  As I remember the man I first loved. The man who gave me the greatest gift, our son. The man who loved me completely and unconditionally.  The man whose life and death forever changed my life. The man who I will miss until my last day. The man I will love until my dying day.  


I will honor all my emotions that day.  Let them flow. I will not hide my grief just as I do not hide my love.  Some days are just bad grief days. And all you can do is ride it out.  


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.