Tonight my heart aches. Aches in a way words cannot describe. Aches for a man who’s been gone for far too long. And lived for far too short a time.


On Sunday, my late husband would be celebrating his 43rd birthday. But instead, he will always be 37. My new favorite number. My new lucky number. A number I never considered an important one until the day he died. With all that is going on in the world right now, I can’t help but think how would he feel? What would he say?


In the world of the COVID-19 pandemic, his life would have been on the line. He was a lung transplant recipient who couldn’t risk getting sick. That would’ve meant all of our lives changed. We would have to truly live in lockdown. No grocery store chips. No going to work. No anything. I would not have been able to take the risk of making him sick. And if I had been forced to go to work and see patients, I could not return to my home. What I meant leaving him until it was safe to come back. Something I would’ve done without even thinking. I would risk my life in a minute for him. All day. Every day


And now living in the world with such hatred and violence, I think what would Jared say? He would say to treat each other as we want to be treated. To stand up for what is right. No matter what. That silence is acceptance. He would be telling our child how wrong all of this is. And no one has the right to take someone else’s life. And that when you see injustice, you stand up and say something Because that is the right thing to do. No matter how hard, or how scared you are, or how much you fear retribution, you stand up for what is right. And shout out against what is wrong.


Important life lessons. Defend those who can’t defend themselves. Don’t silently stand by and watch as it happens. And protect those you love with everything you have.  Lesson my late husband would have helped teach our son.  Lessons I must now teach alone. 


These may seem like simple things. Like common sense thoughts. And these are the things that made my husband the man I loved. The man I still love. The man I will love with my last breath. The man who made me who I am today. And I miss him. Every. Damn. Day.


This time of year is so hard. I called this our five weeks of grief hell. It starts with Mother’s Day and ends with Father’s Day. And in that timeframe we have six days. Six days of grief. Six days to remind us that Jared is missing. Six days to show us that he can’t make any new memories. Six days to celebrate the love he gave us. Six days in five weeks. And that makes my heart hurt. Heart in a way words cannot describe. Hurt for all that is missing. All that could never be again.  Hurt that my son can no longer learn life’s important lessons from his dad.


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.