It has been almost 8 years since Jared died. Eight years that feel like yesterday and forever at the same time. Eight years and so much has changed. Eight years and I have learned so much.


I have learned I am blessed to have those who are here to help even though they have not experienced such a loss.


I have learned there are those who are thankful they are far away and don’t have to deal with my grief. 


I have learned there are those who want to help but don’t know how and are afraid to say the wrong thing.


I have learned there are those that are uncomfortable with my grief and thus keep their distance.


I have learned there are those who think I should be over it by now and can’t understand why I still talk about Jared.


I have learned that some of those I thought would hold my hand during this journey have not and those who I thought might walk away are still here.


I have learned that those who have not experienced such loss can never truly understand.


I have learned that I am not alone and that there is an entire community willing to help me as I walk, run, and stumble on this path.


I have learned that holding the love of your life as he takes his last breath changes you forever.


I have learned that watching my child say goodbye to his father is the moment his life changed forever. 


I have learned that grief triggers can come out of nowhere and knock the wind out of me.


I have learned I can smile at our memories instead of just cry.


I have learned that each day I can chose to be happy for today because of the love we shared and our many joyous yesterdays.


I have learned that feeling happy can also make me feel guilty.


I have learned that choosing to cherish Jared’s memory is choosing to keep him alive in the present.


I have learned that I have hope.  Hope for a future that will always include Jared.  A future where I will make memories not with him but because of him.


I have learned that the future without Jared is a scary place, but a place he would want me to explore.


I have learned that the best way to honor my love for Jared is to teach my son to live, live each day to fullest.


I have learned that I will have bad days.  Days where I need to step back and live with my memories so that I can step into the future.


I have learned that I will never be the person I was before Jared died.


I have learned that I can love again.


I have learned that life can be good again.


I have learned how hard it was to be mom and dad. And that I made more than my share of mistakes. But I did my best.


I have learned that death can forge a bond between child and surviving parent nothing can break. 


I have learned that grieving and parenting a grieving child is not for the weak.


I have learned that I am more resilient than I ever thought possible.


I have learned grief affects children for the rest of their lives. 


I have learned to live again. 


Eight years. And I still have so much to learn. 


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.