I’m going to share something that every widowed parent knows. Solo parenting sucks. Being the only one twenty-four hours a day seven days a week without an end in sight. And yes, I have amazing friends who would do anything for me but they have their own families. As a solo parent I’m often forced to make difficult  choices. I can’t be in two places at once so that often means something has to be pushed to the wayside.  


Somedays I feel like a failure as a mom.  I try so hard to give Steven the best experiences all while balancing work, sports, and life.  And sometimes I fail. I try my best but sometimes things happen that are out of my control and I feel like I failed.  And at times like that, I wish I wasn’t doing all this alone. That every parenting decision didn’t fall squarely on my shoulders.  But it does. And even though I can ask others for advice, the decision is ultimately mine. And mine alone. Which also means the blame when something goes wrong is also mine.  And only mine. 


When I feel like I’m failing as a solo parent, I get angry at Jared.  Mad that he died and left me all alone to parent our son. I hate that I always have to be the disciplinarian. Resent that sometimes my job has to take priority and takes me away from my son. Feel guilty that sometimes I can’t be at his events and that means he has no parent there to support him.  I didn’t sign up to be a solo parent. I wanted a partner, my husband, to be there by my side to navigate the obstacles that come with being a parent. To be able to discuss issues. To bounce ideas off each other. I never wanted to shoulder the responsibility alone. And yet, that is exactly what I am doing. 


Tough days make me think “this is not what I signed up for.”  I never wanted to be a solo mom. I never said I could do it alone.  I planned on having Jared to share in this life. To share the load. But unfortunately, life did not go as planned.  Life decided to deal me a different hand. And I have no choice but to play the cards I was dealt. So with a few tears and a lot of prayer, I will forge on.  And yes, I will make mistakes. I will feel like a failure. I will worry that I’m doing it all wrong and screwing up my kid. I will second guess my decisions and wonder what would Jared do. 


But sometimes, I know I got it right.  And it’s those times I have to cling to.  Hold onto. Remember on the shitty days. When Steven and I make new memories, I know I’m doing it right. When we share laughs and take great adventures together, I know I did something right.  When he tells me I’m the best mom ever and I’ve done a great job these last 5 1/2 years, I know I’m doing it the best way for us. And maybe one day I will feel like I am rocking this solo mom thing.  But until then, I will be grateful for every time I feel like I didn’t mess up. For every time I know I did it right. Or at least right for us. And that’s all that matters.


No matter how many times I get it right or how long I do it on my own, I still say solo parenting sucks.


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.