I am blessed to have two amazing love stories. And today, I honor them both. It is possible to love what was while loving what is. 


My late husband, Jared and I were blessed to spend 16 Valentine’s Days together. Some of my best memories are from this day. Jared always said it was a Hallmark holiday and he loved me every day. Yet, he went out of his way to ensure that February 14th was always extra special.  


Like the year I told him not to buy me flowers, because they were so expensive and he had flowers delivered to my office with a note that said “gotcha.”  And the Valentine’s after his first lung transplant when he wrote me a note that said “no flowers this year, Dr Baz says no.” And the year he made my card into an airplane and flew it across the house to me. And the last Valentine’s Day together, we enjoyed a romantic dinner and drinks in an ice bar with great friends. So many wonderful memories. 


And today is the fourth Valentine’s Day I get to spend with my new love. And he too, makes this day extra special. Ensures that I feel loved. Not just on Valentine’s Day, but every day.  Last year, he planned a romantic weekend away. Made dinner reservations to a fabulous restaurant. And then, we decided we were enjoying spending our time together on the beach and I didn’t want to go to a restaurant. So he changed her plans, ordered us dinner at our resort, and we celebrated the evening with just the two of us. And it was perfect. That’s how he is. Very go with the flow. Just wants to make me happy.


My new husband appreciates and honors my love story that came before him. He knows that because I love Jared, I love him better. Being a widow has taught me how to be a better wife. Jon is never jealous of Jared. He knows I do not compare the two of them. He knows Jared was the love of my life then and he is the love of my life now. Jon knows that my heart is capable of loving both of them. That there will always be a piece of my heart that is reserved for Jared. That honors the love he and I will always share. And that my heart has a special place just for him. A place reserved for the love story we are currently writing.


My relationship with Jared, helped make me into the woman I am today. The wife that loves my new husband. The woman who is able to love Jon without holding anything back. I will always love Jared. Just as I love Jon. My heart is capable of loving them both. Equally. But differently.


On this Valentine’s Day, I honor and celebrate both of my love stories. I treasure my love story with Jared. All the wonderful memories we made. All the years we were blessed to spend together. And that he loved me until he’s dying breath.


I also treasure my love story with Jon. The memories we are making. The love story we are writing. All the years we will get to spend together.


Death does not end love. I will love Jared until my dying day. Just as I will Jon. Both of them hold a special place in my heart. Both of them love me beyond measure. Both of them are my valentines.


On this Valentine’s Day, I celebrate both of my love stories. What is and what was. I treasure what was. The memories no one can take from me. And I enjoy every moment of what it is. And I look forward to what will be. Isn’t love grand?



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.