Halloween is my second favorite holiday. It’s a holiday my late husband and I always enjoyed celebrating. After our son was born, Jared could not wait for Steven to get old enough to do “scary Halloween.“


Steven was nine years old the last time he celebrated Halloween with his dad. And that year, we thoroughly enjoyed a scary Halloween. We enjoyed the haunted houses throughout our neighborhood.  We watched scary movies. We couldn’t wait to celebrate on Halloween night.  And those two had a blast, a wicked good time.  They immediately started planning the next Halloween. How they were going to transform our garage into a haunted house and scare the neighbors. Their excitement was contagious.


Unfortunately, we didn’t get another Halloween. 


The next year, Jared was gone.  And Halloween wasn’t the same.  Everything was different.  I could not do scary.  And absolutely nothing related to death. No tombstones. No skeletons. No death.  It just hit too close to home. Felt almost morbid. Halloween didn’t hold the same joy with Jared.  It was just another day.  Steven trick or treated with friends but even he wasn’t excited about Halloween. We missed Jared.  We didn’t have the energy or desire to celebrate without him. 


The 2nd Halloween after Jared’s death, I realized he would be upset.  That he would not have wanted his death to change Halloween. He would have wanted Steven and I to continue our Halloween traditions. But I still couldn’t do anything related to death. And yet, I wanted to honor Jared and try to celebrate scary Halloween. 


That year we transformed our friend’s driveway into a haunted house. As we built the haunted house and decorated it, we talked about how much Jared would have loved to be there celebrating with us.  He was missed beyond measure.  I remember thinking how excited he would be.  That he would love to see Steven enjoying a scary Halloween.  How much he would have enjoyed creating the haunted house.  


For the next 2 years, we celebrated Halloween with our friends.  We built that haunted house and each year we expanded it. The theme changed but it was always scary. Steven loved scaring people in the haunted house.  After a good scare, he would laugh. The same laugh as his dad. 


And I knew I had made the right decision.  That celebrating Halloween was what my son needed.  Made him feel closer to his dad.  Helped honor Jared’s memory. 


This year, Halloween will look different.  Because the world is different.  But we are still enjoying a good scare.  We decorated our yard. We have been watching scary Halloween movies. And we are trying to figure out how to do a socially distanced haunted house.  So while Halloween may look different, our spirit will be the same. 


Jared would be proud that we continued our Halloween traditions.  That his son loves scary Halloween. He is remembered and missed every day and especially on this holiday.I can hear him laughing after every great scare.  


Halloween is not everyone’s cup of tea.  But for my family it was a day to be together and laugh through the scares.  And it still is. 



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.