Three years ago, I attended a workshop at Camp Widow that was monumental in my healing. Changed the course of my grief journey. Helped me to embrace the me I was becoming after loss.


For that workshop, we had to face our biggest fear. Fears are not rational. But they are powerful.  In that workshop, we had to write down our fear and then decide if we wanted to let it go or let it continue to dictate our healing. I decided to let mine go. I literally stared my fear in the face as I broke an arrow with my neck.


During that workshop, I realized my biggest fear was forgetting Jared. Through this workshop I realized that I will never forget Jared.  Memories may fade but I will never forget his spirit or how he made me feel. I just have to let go of the fear.  By letting go of the fear, I can have a life of happiness.  I’m not betraying Jared.  I’m honoring him by living my best life.  And I’m showing my son And by living life to the fullest, we can honor those who have gone before us. And that making new memories never erases old ones.


That powerful workshop also taught me that holding onto everything that was Jared’s is not necessary to hold onto our love. That his stuff is not what keeps him alive in my heart.  That I will always have the memories.  And while some of the belongings are nice, I don’t need all the stuff to keep the memories alive.  I also realized I don’t want Steven to become so attached to Jared’s things that he feels that is the only way to hold onto to his memories of his dad.  Yes, I want to make a quilt from Jared’s clothes to have that tangible memory.  So Steven and I can wrap ourselves in his love. Yes, I want to keep many of Jared’s mementos for Steven so he can have pieces of his dad’s childhood.  And I want to keep certain things for myself.  But I no longer need to hold onto items that bring up memories of the sad times. 


I left that workshop knowing it is OK to make room in my life for new adventures. New experiences.  And that by inviting new people, new experiences into my life, I have the opportunity to share my memories of Jared. To share what a great dad he was.  To share how the love he gave me for 16 years shaped who I am today.  That by allowing myself to live and enjoy all life has to offer, I am keeping my promise.  I am making Jared proud. 


This workshop helped me discover that the word someday can be a crutch.  It is a word for a time that may never happen.  Saying I will do it someday is letting yourself off the hook for accomplishing it today.  Someday is a wish, a hope, a dream that may never come true. So I have decided to make today my someday.  And when realistically I can’t do something today, I will set a timeframe for completion or at the very least say soon.  Life is a gift and is meant to be lived.  I am here for a reason.  I have a purpose.  And today is my someday to start living in the present and planning my future. 


I feel like I made a huge step in my healing.  That I left Camp Widow more complete, less burdened.  Ready to step into life.  And a lot of the credit goes to the workshop Where I literally faced my fears. Stared them down. Took away their power. And instead, I used that strength to break an arrow with my neck.


I wish Jared was here so I could tell him all about it. Share my excitement with him.  Ensure he knows I’m keeping my promise.  But I know he is proud.  And I know he wants me to live.  He would want me to be happy.  And I am. I am truly happy.  Who needs someday when I can live and be happy today?


Who knew that breaking an arrow with my neck would be such an empowering moment? A turning point in my grief? Show me how healing is necessary for survival? 


And since that workshop, I have continued to live. Experience as many new adventures as possible. I have been able to let go of some tangible items. Because I know I will never forget Jared. I will always have the memories. And I will always have the love in my heart.





Have you heard about Hope for Widows Foundation’s annual virtual Widows of Hope 5K on May 15 and 16? Registration is now open! For details, FAQ’s and to register/support go to: Anyone can join! Whether you are a widow, widower, or a friend/family member showing support, or walking in the loss of another family member, everyone is welcomed to participate. The deadline to register is May 15, 2021. The proceeds will directly support widows directly through their annual financial Restoring Hope and Peace Grants, Sunshine Boxes program, and our Bring Hope Holiday Assistance Program. PS- all programs benefits/offered to US and Canada residents


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.