I will never forget the night Jared died. 

The night I held him in my arms as he took his last breath. 

The night my world changed.

Going to bed that night hugging Jared’s pillow. My heart shattered in a way I never imagined possible. Wishing God had just taken us all together. Finally crying myself to sleep. Waking up the next morning thinking it was all a terrible dream. Only to realize my nightmare was real. My husband was dead. I was a widow.  

What the hell was I supposed to do now?

How could I go on living without Jared?

Would anything ever feel normal again?  And what was “normal” now that my life had been turned upside down?

As the days turned into weeks and the weeks into months, I realized that I was numb. That I was walking through life, surviving but not living. Then the numbness wore off.  And suddenly I felt hopeless. Terrified I would mess everything up and my son would suffer because of it. Completely unsure how to do this thing called life without Jared.   

I had amazing friends and my widow tribe to see me through. And with a lot of work and time, my grief changed. It became easier to manage. I was able to smile at the memories instead of crying. I was able to be thankful for what was instead of just longing for what could never be. 

I started living again. 

I discovered who I wanted to be.

But that didn’t happen overnight.  

And it wasn’t easy. 

The grief work was hard but worth it.

I still have bad moments. Am occasionally brought to my knees by unexpected grief triggers. But I recover quicker now. Pick myself up faster now.  

Despite my fear and resistance, I am living again. I am happy again. I look forward to adventures again.   

I decided to allow myself to feel again. My heart will always have a scar. A place specifically to carry Jared’s love. And yet, I am able to love again. 

I will never forget the night Jared died. 

Or how much I wanted to die too.

But I’m grateful I never gave up. 

I am living again.

Life is good.

And I know Jared would be proud.


Mark your calendars! Hope For Widows Foundation’s annual virtual event has returned on Saturday, April 2, and Sunday, April 3, 2022! Anyone can join! Whether you are a widow, widower, or a friend/family member showing support or walking in the loss of another family member, everyone is welcome to participate. The proceeds will directly support widows through the annual financial Restoring Hope and Peace Grants, Sunshine Boxes program, and Bring Hope Holiday Assistance Program. Do you have or know a business that would like to sponsor? That’s an option too! To register and frequently asked questions- please go here: widowsofhope5k.racewire.com


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.