These last few weeks have been extremely rough.  I am emotionally exhausted. My cup is empty and I have no more to give.  And that feeling of complete emotional emptiness puts me in a melancholy mood.  I begin to question everything. I have a difficult time finding my joy. And then I begin to wonder. I wonder if I will ever truly be obliviously happy again. The kind of ignorant bliss I had before my husband died. The kind of joy where death, grief, widowhood, and solo parenting weren’t a part of my vocabulary.


In the five years since my late husband died, I have had to rebuild my life. Reinvent myself. Take on roles and responsibilities I never wanted. And all of that made me stronger. Made me who I am today. And I like the person I’ve become. I like my new life. I love my new husband and our family. But I desperately miss my old life.  Miss what was. Miss what can never be again. I can love what is and what was at the same time. It’s not an either or situation. I don’t have to make a choice. I get to keep my memories of the past while I make new memories. 


When I begin to wonder about happiness, I remember that being happy is a choice.  A choice I must make every day. And most days choosing happiness is what I do. But when I am emotionally exhausted and my cup is empty, choosing happiness is much more difficult.  At those times, it is much easier to give into despair. Think about all the things that have gone wrong. And how hard the last 5 years have been. But that’s not the way I want to live.  It’s not what Jared would want for me. He wanted me to live. He told me so. In fact he made me promise I would live. 


In life post loss, can we feel like we did before death reared its ugly head?  I don’t think so. We are different after such tragedy. Can we be happy? Yes, absolutely.  Will it be the same innocent happiness that we knew before death changed our lives forever?  No. Can we appreciate life, live to enjoy every moment? Yes. But will it ever be the same? I honestly don’t know.   But I do know it can be good again.  


And making life good again is a choice we each must make.   Because as much as it hurts sometimes, as much as I miss my old life, my life now is good.  I’m happy. I’m loved and I love. And on the hardest, emotional days that is what I have to remember.  I am not the same person. My life is not the same. But different isn’t bad. I may no longer have the ignorant bliss I had before my late husband died but I am happy.  I have a good life. So while life is not the same, it is equally as good. 


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.