Today is National Widow’s Day.  And unfortunately, I am a member of that club.  A club I never wanted to join. But I am surrounded by some of the strongest men and women I know.  We support each other. Lift each other up. Hold each other when we need to cry. Commiserate about being alone.  Discuss the hardships of solo parenting. I’m not sure how I would have survived without my widowed tribe. 


Many in my widowed community also lose their friends and family when their spouse dies.  But I am also blessed to have amazing friends and family who supported me on my grief journey.  Who continue to support me. Who are always willing to help. To listen. Who help keep Jared’s memory alive. Who celebrate my newfound joy.   Who understand that 5.5 years is forever and yesterday all at the same time. Who continue to miss and love Jared but at the same time are willing to open their hearts to my new beginning.


This widow journey is not one I would wish on anyone.   And given the option, I would give my widow card back in a heartbeat.  But that is not an option. So instead I will march on. I will wear the title of widow proudly, with honor.  Being a widow means I was loved until Jared took his last breath. It was my privilege to be Jared’s last love. 


Today on National Widow’s Day, do every widow you know a special favor. Talk about their dead spouse.   Speak their name. As a widow one of the most painful things is to the think that others have forgotten your late spouse.  Remember, that our lives were forever changed in a single moment. Our life as we knew it ended when our spouse died. The future we had planned vanished, never to happen. Our present became one of basic survival.  We no longer felt whole, complete. A part of us died in that moment. And our loss should not and cannot be ignored. Our loss shaped us into who we are now. Someone new, someone who has lived in darkness and fought their way back to the light. 


Acknowledge our loss.  Don’t ignore it, change the subject, or refuse to speak their name.  These actions are hurtful, they make us feel alone. Like an outcast.  Today of all days, honor a widow. Remember their life before death. Speak their spouse’s name.  Honor a love so deep that even death cannot end it.  


To all my widowed friends, I’m sorry we are walking this journey.  That we know this pain. This struggle. But I am grateful that I do not have to do this alone.  So today on National Widow’s Day, I honor my widow tribe. I honor my love story. And I will continue to look for hope and happiness.



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.