The last 7.5 years have been a journey for me.  A journey into grief. A journey of survival. A journey about living. And on this  journey of widowhood there has been much to learn. 


I have learned that I’m stronger than I ever thought possible. I survived a fate worse than death. Yet here I am. Surviving, living, thriving.  


I have learned that I am worthy of love. That I deserve the moon and stars and I won’t settle for less. I was willing to open my heart to love and took a risk on finding love. And am living my happily even after.


I have learned a pity party only gets you so far. That being alone is not the same as being lonely. I am now comfortable in my skin. And am willing to face this world head on. 


I have learned to accept my faults. I am nowhere near perfect. I have learned to laugh at myself and realize that I am going to continue to stumble. That this journey is a cha cha and I will take two steps forward and one step back.  


I have learned that life is short. Too short to say no to an adventure. Too short for regrets. Life should be lived. Especially with those who love me. 


But most importantly, I have found a peace within myself. A realization that I can survive the unimaginable. That I am teaching my child that life does not end with death. That we choose how we move forward. And that when we add new memories, we are building our future. 


And I have learned that Jared would be proud. That by choosing to move forward, to find new love, and to build a future I am keeping my promise. I am honoring Jared. I am honoring our love story.


This may not be the life I signed up for but it is the life I was dealt. And I have learned to make the most of each day. The last 7.5 years have taught me that grief never ends. This journey is one that I will be on for the rest of my life. And it is up to me to decide if it will be one of laughter, love, and adventure. 


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.