When Jared died, my entire world changed. It doesn’t mean that my world can’t be good, or that I can’t be happy, or have a life filled with joy.  It just means my world has changed. But until you have gone through this kind of loss, you can never understand how that loss truly changes your life.  

In many ways I am the same person I was before Jared died.  But in some ways I have changed. And not everyone likes those changes. And that is ok. But what many do not understand, and cannot understand until you are walking this unimaginable journey, is how much the death of your spouse truly changes your entire world. 

The day Jared died, the world as I knew it stopped. But for my friends and family their world kept on spinning.  Because they have never walked in my shoes, my friends and family could not understand just how truly devastating his death was to me. The night of Jared’s death I went to bed alone. The morning after Jared’s death I woke up all alone. I was suddenly widowed, had a late husband, and was a solo mother. For my friends and family, they went to bed snuggled next to their spouses thanking God they didn’t know how I felt. They woke up the next morning and their life was just as it was the night before. 

I used to wonder how everyone kept on living, acting like nothing was different when my whole world had been shattered.  When Jared died, our friends and family were heartbroken too. But Jared’s death did not impact them in the same way it did me. It couldn’t. For them his death did not alter their whole world. They were sad and they missed him but their family was still intact. Mine was forever changed.  While they miss him, their daily life was not affected in the same way. Yes, Jared is no longer here to attend their parties.  He is no longer here to hang out with and laugh. He is no longer here to harass their children. But for them seeing Jared was a weekly or monthly occurrence. For me it was every day all day. So there is no way his death could have the same impact on their lives. And it took me a while to realize that.  And now I understand that as much as they love and miss Jared, his death did not shatter their world the way it shattered mine. 

I lost my future. I lost the love of my life. I lost the father of my child. While I continue to live and do my best to create a new normal, there will always be a hole in my world.  An empty space that is deeply felt on a daily basis. And while my family and friends miss Jared, they do not feel the same constant loss. And I’m thankful for that because this widowed life is not something I would wish on my worst enemy.

I used to wonder how everyone kept on living, acting like nothing was different when my whole world had been shattered. And now I understand that until you’ve experienced a loss of this magnitude, you truly have no idea what it feels like or the impact it has on your life.  So when I get upset that my friends or family don’t understand, I try to remember it’s because they can’t. They can’t even imagine having their world shattered the way mine was. They can’t even imagine life without their significant other. They can’t imagine the grief of losing their spouse.  So when I am upset, aggravated, or have hurt feelings that my friendships and relationships have changed since Jared died, I need to remember that grief is a process.  It’s a process for me and it’s a process for them.  And we don’t all process grief the same way or at the same time.

As my new world evolves and I continue to move forward with making a new life, my friendships and relationships will continue to change because I will continue to change.  My loss will shape my future. The darkness of my grief will help me to choose the colors for my future.  My new life will continue to blossom as I envision what my future will look like.  And that vision can change. Because life is ever changing.


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.