The 7-year anniversary for Jared’s death or his angelversary as I call it, didn’t hit me as hard this year. 


The first year I was kind of numb, grateful to have survived that awful first year. The second year, that was when his death got real. That’s when I knew he was never coming home yet life must go forward. The third year I decided to live. Live for myself instead of just living for Jared’s memory. The fourth year, I was in a new relationship and felt guilty on Jared’s angelversary. Guilty I was loving someone that wasn’t him. The sixth year, I was doing okay until grief knocked my son down and sent me down the grief hole. 


But this year we both had relatively good days.  We decided that rather than focus on the saddest of days, we would just have a normal day. That we no longer needed to honor the angelversary to honor Jared.  Instead we decided to treat the angelversary like any other day and focus on celebrating the good memory days. 


It helps to know Jared would not want us to be sad. He would tell us that weneed to live. I know he would be telling me to get out there, take life by the horns, and make it my own. 


Even though this year was better, I still miss Jared. Wish he was here. And this may sound crazy, but no matter how much I miss him, I am grateful that his suffering has ended.  There comes a time and it is such a guilt-ridden moment, when you realize you are no longer praying for a miracle but instead praying for their suffering to end. That doesn’t mean you want them to die. It doesn’t mean you won’t miss them everyday.  It doesn’t mean that you stop loving them. It just means that your love for them is more than you ever thought possible. It is the moment you realize just how selfless love really is. I would take a healthy Jared back in a heartbeat. But I would never, ever want him to have to suffer the way he did his last few weeks on earth.  


Instead, I tried to find comfort that he is breathing with the angels. And until I get to see him again, I will try to live a very full life. A life I can look back on and be proud of. And I will teach my child that life is an adventure and that fear of the unknown should not keep him from living. These last seven years have taught me more than I ever wanted to know about grief but they have also taught me a tremendous amount about strength and resilience. And life and love.


This most recent angelversary reminded me just how much grief changes over time. And the manner in which we cope with our loss changes over time. And that it is always okay to accept the changes and grieve in a different way. There is no right or wrong way.  Just the way that works best for you at the current moment.


And right now, for me, that is focusing on the good memories. Living my best life. And loving my people with my whole heart. 


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.