As a widow, I have learned to embrace the joy and the sorrow.  But it has definitely been a learning curve. 


When Jared first died, I could not, or would not, embrace the joy. I only wanted to feel the sorrow. My heart and soul ached. The grief was overwhelming. The sorrow was familiar. Comfortable. 


The sorrow felt like a warm blanket. It soothed my aching soul. Validated my feelings of grief. Made me feel safe. 


The sorrow made me feel like I was being a good widow. That I was appropriately grieving. That sadness and sorrow was the correct way, the only way to honor Jared. Sorrow and sadness was what everyone expected. Embracing the sorrow was the one one thing that felt right.


Sorrow was my go to emotion for a long time.


And then one day in April, two years after Jared died, I woke up with the desire to live. To be happy. To find my joy again. 


During those two years, I experienced joy. I enjoyed myself. Celebrated many holidays, accomplishments, and joyous times with my son. But I refused to allow myself to embrace the joy. It was OK to have moments of happiness. It was OK to not be sad all the time. But I felt as if the joy could not outweigh the sorrow. 


Until that day in April.


On that day, I gave myself permission to feel joy. To embrace it. I realized that the best way to honor Jared, is to live my best life. To take life by the horns and run full force. Take all the adventures I wanted. Teach my son that life is worth living. That life is the most precious gift and not to waste a moment.


And now I realize that life is all about embracing the joy and sorrow. That some moments will always be bittersweet. That certain events will always make me laugh and bring a tear to my eye. And that’s OK. Finding the balance, that has given me permission to live. Permission to feel whatever emotion I need to feel at that moment. And then to feel whatever emotion comes next.


As a widow, life will always be a balance between the joy and the sorrow. And it is absolutely OK for the joy to far outweigh the sorrow.


Widowhood is a lifelong journey. With a steep learning curve. And for me, learning not only how to balance the joy and sorrow, but to accept that they each have a place in my life, was by far one of the hardest lessons.


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.