August 30th is National Grief Day.  It is a day to remind others that grief is not linear.  That we never “get over it.” Everyone grieves differently. My grief journey is unique. Every widowed person grieves in their own way. All we want is for those who love us to support us. To respect our choices. And to never forget our person. The person we miss and love each and every day


My late husband died almost 6 years ago.  6 years. It feels like forever and yesterday at the same time.  My life is forever marked as before and after Jared’s death. My world is forever changed.  My son and I miss him everyday.


I decided early on in our loss that the best way to honor Jared was to live our best lives.  Travel, Say year to adventures.  Make each day count.  All while never forgetting the man Jared was.  And how he shaped our lives.


I talk about Jared because he was and will always be a part of my life. I want people who come into my life now to know about him. That doesn’t mean every day is full of grief and pain.  It’s not.  I’ve come a long way in my grief journey. I am truly happy most days. Full of joy and gladness. Do I still have bad moments? Absolutely. Do I still have bad days? Absolutely. But they are fewer and farther between now. These days, it is more common for me to be happy and have a real smile. Not that fake smile to make others feel better but a real smile because my heart is happy.  


I didn’t get to this point overnight.  It took time.  Time that could not be rushed or dictated by anybody else. Time that my heart and soul needed to heal. Time I will never regret taking.


Part of my healing was deciding to share my journey. Honestly, openly, and without sugar coating it. The good and the bad. The grief and the joy.  Because this is my normal.  My life. My reality. 


Grief taught me that life is all about the balance. Honoring all of my emotions. The grief and the joy. Learning to not push down my sorrow. And at the same time not feel guilty for feeling happy.  Never allowing the grief to be so all-consuming that I stopped wanting to find the joy. Finding the balance between the two.


Finding the balance between the bitter and the sweet. Finding the balance between grief and joy. And one of the biggest things I’ve learned is not to let fear steal my joy. Everyday I have a choice whether I’m going to be happy or sad. And I choose to be happy. I choose to live in the here and now. I choose to plan my future. That doesn’t mean I will ever forget. That’s not possible. But it does mean I’m moving forward in creating my life.  A life that includes love and loss. A life that will always include Jared.


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.