In two weeks, my son will leave for college. And he is not going to a traditional university. Instead, he’s going to a military college to play football. And the knowledge that I will have extremely limited communication with him and will no longer be part of his daily life is triggering some grief.


And once again I am reminded how much grief feels like fear.


When my late husband died, my son was my reason to get out of bed every day. I kept living, tried my best to move forward, because I had a little boy who needed a mom. 


Now he is moving forward to his next adventure. And my reason for getting up for so many years will no longer be in my house. 


The knowledge that my son is moving 460 miles away to start his collegiate career, has my heart in a tailspin. I feel like I’m losing a piece of my late husband. A connection that only he and I share. And I have no idea how to handle this form of grief. 


I am so proud of my son. Excited to see his future unfold. Privileged to be the parent that gets to be there.


And at the same time, I’m anxious. Uncertain of what to expect. Scared of the unknown.


These bittersweet moments remind me so much of grief. 


The joy and excitement of the future.

The fear and uncertainty of the unknown.

This has been the story of my life since grief reared its ugly head. 


My late husband would be so proud of our son. I wish he was here to help me navigate this journey. To tell me everything is going to be ok.


Soon my son and I will start a new chapter of our lives. It will be the first time we are not writing the story together. Our lives will intersect but now I will be more of a spectator than a participant in his story. And his dad will continue to guide us as we tell our stories. 


And I know while this is triggering some feelings of grief, I am not losing my son. He is doing exactly what I raised him to do. Have the confidence to grow up and start his own adventure. And I have the privilege, the honor to watch him become all he is meant to be. 


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.