In my 2077 days since I started this widow journey, I have learned so much.  Death, grief, and survival have taught me more than I can write about. 


I have learned I am blessed to have those who are here to help even though they have not experienced such a loss.


I have learned there are those who are thankful they are far away and don’t have to deal with my grief. 


I have learned there are those who want to help but don’t know how and are afraid to say the wrong thing.


I have learned there are those that are uncomfortable with my grief and thus keep their distance.


I have learned there are those who think I should be over it by now and can’t understand why I still talk about Jared.


I have learned that some of those I thought would hold my hand during this journey have not and those who I thought might walk away are still here.


I have learned that those who have not experienced such loss can never truly understand (and I hope they never can).


I have learned that I am not alone in this journey and that there is an entire community willing to help me as I walk, run, and stumble on this path.


I have learned that being a solo parent sucks.  I never get to say ask your dad or tell Jared that I have had enough and it’s his turn now.


I have learned that holding the love of your life as he takes his last breath changes you forever.


I have learned that watching my child say goodbye to his father is the moment that forever changed my son’s life.  The moment that stripped him of an innocence.


I have learned that grief triggers can come out of nowhere and knock the wind out of me.


I have learned I can smile at our memories instead of just cry.


I have learned that each day I can choose to be happy because of the love we shared and our many joyous yesterdays.


I have learned that feeling happy can also make me feel guilty.


I have learned that choosing to cherish Jared’s memory is choosing to keep him alive in the present.


I have learned that I will have brighter days.


I have learned that I have hope.  Hope for a future that will always include Jared.  A future where I will make memories not with him but because of him.


I have learned that the future without Jared can be a scary place, but a place he would want me to explore.


I have learned that the best way to honor my love for Jared is to teach my son to live, live each day to the fullest.


I have learned that I will have bad days.  Days where I need to step back and live with my memories so that I can enjoy my future.


I have learned that life, milestones, anniversaries will always be bitter sweet.  And that I can enjoy the sweet without feeling guilty. 


I have learned that I will never be the person I was before Jared died and that is OK.   


I have learned that because of my great love story with Jared, I can love again.


I have learned I will love differently because of Jared’s death.  


I have learned that my heart can love two men equally but differently.  


I have learned that death does not end love.  Love goes on, we bring it with us. 


I have learned that my widow journey will continue to shape me, my family, and my future. 


I have learned so many things. And I still have so much to learn. 



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.