Tomorrow would be my late husband’s 44th birthday. But instead he is forever 37.  


Our son and I miss Jared every day.  

Wish he could be here.

Would love to once again celebrate his birthday with him. 


It’s been 7 years since we last celebrated together as a family.  And what I wouldn’t give to watch Jared blow out his birthday candles one more time. 


When Jared died, I vowed I would always celebrate his life. I did not want his life to be defined by death. So every year, our son and I celebrate Jared’s birthday. 


The first year after he died, we went to the beach with family and friends.  We paddled out and put rose petals in the water. Jared loved the beach so it was the perfect way to celebrate his life. His first birthday in heaven.


Three years after he died, we went surfing in Bali.  Jared taught our son to surf.  It was a love they shared.  So we packed our bags and flew to Bali to surf. I could feel Jared in the sun.  Hear his voice in the waves. And see him in our son’s smile.


Five years after he died, we were in Mexico on a family cruise.  So we rented jet skis and zoomed around the office.  Our son was driving our jet ski and when I went flying off, he said “that was dad.” Then we both flew off and I told him his dad was telling him to be nicer to his mother.  Laughing with Steven and sharing stories was the best way to honor Jared’s birthday. 


This year Jared will celebrate his 7th birthday in heaven.  And we will celebrate here on earth.  Steven and I will hike the Red Rocks in Colorado and then eat pizza, Jared’s favorite food. We will finish the celebration for Jared with a traditional chocolate chip cookie cake. 


His first birthday in heaven, Jared’s headstone was placed on his grave. His family and friends gathered to see it. Since that year, I have not visited the cemetery on his birthday. The cemetery reminds me of his death. And his birthday is about his life.  So we do something fun. Something Jared loved. Something to honor the amazing life he lived. 


Tomorrow my son and I will be on a plane to Denver. To hike and eat pizza to celebrate the life of an amazing man. A man we both love and miss.  A man who taught us to live each day to the fullest. A man who will forever be part of our adventures. 


Happy birthday Lovebug. 

Here’s to you and all you taught us!



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.