I am not the same person I was before Jared died.

I am not the same person I was the day he died.  

I am not the same person I was 6 months ago.


I feel like a mosaic. All the same pieces but put back together differently. Not that different is bad, it’s just well different.


Who am I now?


I am a widow. I am a wife. I am a remarried widow. I am a mother. I am a nurse practitioner. Those are my titles. But who am I?


How do I fill the empty space?


For the last five years of Jared’s wife, I was his caregiver. His advocate. And that took up a lot of my time. Since his death, being a sports mom has taken up the majority of my time. But my son is leaving for college this summer. So what am I supposed to do now? How do I fill that time?


How do I function now?


I am a nurse practitioner. And I’m good at my job. But it is not the same. It no longer fulfills me. It no longer defines me. My job and the accolades that come with it used to be enough, but not anymore. Now I need something else. Need to find what fills my soul. 


What do I do now?


I want to share Jared’s story. Encourage others to be organ donors. Check off all the places on my bucket list. Live a life that makes it impossible to be anything but happy.


How do I keep my promise?


That is something I am always working on. Finding a way to live and not just survive.  Discovering new joys in life every day. Counting my blessings. Remembering that God has a plan for me. Opening my heart to whatever my future holds. I wonder if Jared knew what he was asking when he asked me to make that promise? Somehow I think he did.


I will never be the same person I was before Jared died. I am a work in progress. Constantly changing. Discovering new things. Finding new joys. Living new adventures. Finding who I am now. What I want to do. Filling the space with those people and things that are good for me. 



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.