I left my heart in Charleston.


My son officially started his college career. And he has chosen the path less traveled. He is attending a military college, playing football, and participating in ROTC. Plus he will have a rigorous class schedule. Because it is a military college, we will have no communication for a week. None. And I can’t see him until October. That is hard on my mama heart.


Leaving my son today felt like I was losing him. Saying goodbye to the life we had known. Facing the uncertainity of what is to come.


It reminded me a lot of losing my late husband. Of widowhood. Of grief.


And I don’t like it.

I don’t want to feel those emotions again.


I promised myself I would not cry if front of my son. That I had to be strong for him. That I could lose it and bawl my eyes out later when I was alone.


Sound familiar?

It’s just how I felt when his dad died. 


I wasn’t prepared for this. I didn’t expect this momentous occasion to feel so much like grief. 


My son didn’t die. He’s just moving three states away to go to college. So why am I grieving? 


This should be a joyous day. He has worked hard to achieve his dreams. I should be celebrating his accomplishments. Instead I feel like my heart is breaking. 


I know the road ahead is going to be challenging. For both of us. He will face many challenges in the upcoming weeks. And I can’t help him. He has to figure it out in his own. And I know he will because he is strong and resilient. He has tools and resources at his disposal. Many which he learned to utilize because of grief. 


The hard part for me will be walking through my front door and him not being there. His chair being empty at the dinner table. His clothes in the closet but him not being home to wear them. We will no longer say goodnight at the end of each day. His bed will no longer be slept in.


So much like when I lost Jared. 

This life changing moment that I thought I was prepared for has triggered my grief. 

My world is changing and I have no control to stop it. 


Just like Jared’s death.

Just like grief. 


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.