When my late husband died, being busy became one of my coping mechanisms. Always somewhere to go, something to do. Downtime meant time to think.  And I definitely didn’t want that. 


For the last 6 years, I have kept my calendar jammed packed. Whether it is a meeting, a conference, or my son’s activities. Something to do almost every night of the week. Busy, busy, busy.  No downtime. 


I rarely refused an invitation. Someone would ask can I give that talk, my answer was yes. Another would ask can I attend this conference, again I said yes. My son plays two sports, I have time for that. I sit on various committees, no problem. Even found time to go back to school for my doctorate. What was good about my busy schedule was it gave me no time for myself. I was always doing for someone else. Too busy to stop and think about my own life. And that’s exactly what I needed. I needed to be busy. I needed to have something to do so I did not have time to think about Jared’s death. 


I was happy with my crazy, hectic, no downtime schedule. And then COVID-19 happened. And the world as I knew it came to a screeching halt. Social distancing, self quarantine became our reality. No more conferences, no more meetings, no more sporting events. And suddenly my calendar was empty.  I found myself with nothing to do. I was forced to slow down. Forced to have down time.  


And you know what? I actually kind of like it. I realize I no longer need to be afraid of downtime. I realized I can be ok in the quiet.  That I enjoy the quiet. That my heart is happier in the quiet.  


When I think of Jared, my late husband, I smile. I have truly gotten to the point where I smile first. Yes, there are times that the tears still flow. Certain thoughts or memories make me cry. But the majority of the time, my first response to hearing his name, reliving a special memory, or seeing his picture is to smile.  And I wouldn’t appreciate that if I was so busy. The forced downtime helped me to understand just how far I have come in my grief. 


Jared and I created so many wonderful memories. We went on countless adventures. And he gave me my greatest blessing, our son. How could I not smile?


So I like this place I find myself.  I’m still working each day. Helping my son with virtual school. Having social distancing happy hour.  Yet my calendar is empty. I can spend time in the quiet. And listen to what makes my heart sing. 


Maybe you too can find a positive in this forced downtime.  Rediscover yourself. Take up a hobby you enjoy. Learn to love the memories.  Enjoy the quiet. 



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.