This past weekend my niece was married.  And her wedding reminded me that even the best days can have sad moments. That grief is forever. And that we can love the past, present, and future. 


My niece got married this weekend. At her wedding she wanted to honor those who couldn’t be there and that included my late husband. So she had a picture of her with her Uncle Jared on the table so he could see her get married.


Prior to her wedding day, she had asked my son and I if we were OK if Jared‘s picture was on the remembrance table. She didn’t want to upset us. And we both said yes. We loved the fact she wanted to honor Jared. But I don’t think either one of us thought of how it would feel on the actual day.


My husband’s angelversary is September 16. Our wedding anniversary is September 23. The day we were told he was going to heaven is September 8. September is a hard month. A month that will always be the worst. In fact I refer to it as Sucktember.  


My niece got married on September 5. 

A bright spot in a shitty month. 


Everything was fine until my son saw the picture of his dad sitting near the altar. At the same time butterflies were all around us.. And this one specific butterfly stayed by us the entire wedding. And then the wedding officiant mentioned all those who could not be there for the wedding. And my niece in her vows made a comment about not burning the cinnamon rolls, which I did on my honeymoon with Jared. 


While it was a beautiful ceremony, it was also painful. Especially for my son. My strong 6’3”, 250 pound son broke down and just sobbed. Not much upsets him. He is so laid back. And generally happy. To see him sitting there at the wedding, his head in his hands, tears streaming down his face, his shoulders shaking. My mama heart just broke. Broke in1000 pieces. Broke for all his dad has missed.  Broke for all my son will never get to have. Broke for all the times my son has missed his dad. 


My niece’s wedding was beautiful. Full of love. With several minutes of heartache. And then hours of love. 


Her wedding reminded me of life post loss.


A reminder of how grief will always be part of our lives. How the best days can have bittersweet moments. And how Jared will always be in our hearts. 


Good days.

Bad days.

Bittersweet days.


They all remind me that my life is an ongoing decision to live to the fullest. Be happy. Love. All while honoring my Jared. 


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.