As a solo widowed mom, I often think that I have to be extra careful.  That nothing can happen to me. Because if I die, there is no one left to love my child completely, unconditionally in a way only a parent can.  


My child is well loved.  He has an entire village that loves him.  Cares about him. Wants what is best for him. But I am his only living parent.  And knowing that gives me pause. Reminds me that I’m all he has left. That it’s my responsibility to do all I can to ensure he won’t have to say goodbye to his other parent. 


It is my job to love him no matter what.  To nurture his fearless, adventurous spirit. To encourage him to follow his heart, his dreams.  To ensure no one tells him he can’t be whatever or whoever he wants. To show him that love and kindness are vital in this world.  To teach him to be true to himself, to never change to please someone else. To help him realize life is not black and white but full of color.  To be his port in the storm. To give him roots and wings.  


And while others may love him, I am his mom.  I prayed for him for years before I carried him in my womb.  And I have prayed for him every day since. I prayed for him when I wasn’t sure if he would survive the delivery, I prayed for him when he faced the heartbreaking tragedy of losing his dad.  I have prayed for my boy every day of his life. Because I am his mom and God entrusted me with this precious gift.  


And as his mom, I try to keep him safe.  Free from harm. At the same time, I try to give him space to grow.  Discover who he is. More times than I can count, I have wished his dad was here to do this with me.  He was the only other person on this earth who loved our son completely and unconditionally.  


Unfortunately my late husband can’t be here.  I can’t ask him what he thinks. I can’t get his opinion.  So I have to make the decisions and hope I’m not screwing up.  


Parenting after loss is a heavy weight to carry.  Yet many of us do it everyday. Do it knowing we are responsible for raising kind, decent, upstanding children in spite of loss.  Or maybe because of it. And because of loss, I find myself putting more pressure on myself to get it right. To be all I can be because I am all my son has.  And I will do everything in my power to be here for him as long as I can. It’s my job. I’m his mom. 


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.