When the love of your life dies in front of you, your life is forever changed. You swear never to love again. That your heart will never heal. That you will never let yourself feel again. Do your best to protect yourself from pain.

Yes, you go on about your life. For all intents and purposes, living. You go to work. Take care of your child. Hang out with friends and family. But not necessarily feeling complete. Yes you are happy. As happy as you can be. But something is missing. A part of you is closed off. You swear never to open your heart to love and potentially pain again.

And then something amazing happens. Someone comes into your life that makes you willing to risk being hurt again. Willing to open your heart. Willing to take a chance on love. And it takes you totally by surprise.

At least that’s what happened to me.

At first I worried people would think because I was dating that I was forgetting Jared. Leaving him behind. That I had stopped loving him. And then I realised those that knew me and cared about me would know that wasn’t true. I could never forget Jared. He will always be a part of me. I will always carry him in my heart. And anyone in my life would have to accept that. My new beginning is just that person. Our relationship quickly went from casual dating to planning forever.

And when I realized my relationship with Jon was getting serious, one of the hardest things was telling Jared’s parents. I wanted them to like Jon. To know he loved me and Steven. And that he knew how much we love and miss Jared. And that he wanted Jared to be a part of our life. But I also knew telling them I was bringing someone new into our lives would be hard for them. To hear. To see. But they have handled it well. Welcomed Jon. Supported me. Continued to treat me like family. And still do.

My family and friends were happy for me. But cautiously so. They didn’t want me to be hurt. They worried about Steven. But over time the caution has disappeared and Jon is just one of the gang. Fits right in. Making memories and sharing stories. My friends even gave him his own hashtag, #teamjon.

Three years ago, without any conscious thought, my heart decided to take a chance on love. To open itself to joy. To be willing to risk letting someone in my life again. I will never forget the heart wrenching pain of Jared’s death. Nor will I ever forget the splendor of our life together. My life and love story with Jared give me a reason to live. To take a chance on love. To say yes to a future with Jon.

And I hope Jared is #teamjon.  That he is happy that I am happy.  That he knows Jon loves us and helps us keep his memory alive. That he knows our family will always include him.  That he is proud of me for keeping my promise.

My life changed forever 6 years ago when I held Jared as he died and could do nothing to save him. And again 3 years when I stumbled onto to new love with Jon and couldn’t stop myself from opening my heart again.  Love.  Is a wonderful thing.  And I am blessed to have two amazing love stories.  My heart will always have a spot reserved just for Jared.  Always.  And my year has room to be team Jon.


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.