Today is eight years. Eight years since my late husband died. Eight years since my world changed. Forever. 


Time after loss is a funny thing. It feels like forever and yesterday all at the same time. My heart does not know the difference. 


I think of all the things Jared has missed and all the future things he will miss. Time doesn’t seem to matter. Time doesn’t heal that wound. Time does not make grief easier. Time just makes me more capable to carry the weight of grief.


Jared’s love influenced my life. Steven’s life. The lives of everyone he ever met. And I will be eternally grateful that God gave me the gift of Jared. Time will never change that. 


On this day each year, I try to attend mass and then take a soul soothing walk on the beach. Today was no different. As I was walking the beach, I looked up to the skies and said happy anniversary of your first day in heaven. As horrific as this day was for me 8 years ago, it was a glorious one for Jared. He was breathing with Jesus. All his worries were gone. He no longer had any pain. He was truly a free bird. For the first time, I realized that while this is a sad day for me, it is not a sad day for Jared. Time has changed my perception of this day.


If God could grant me one wish, it would be for Jared to be here. To hold me one more time. To tell our son all the things a young man needs to hear from his dad. To let us feel that love one more time. To be given the gift of more time.


Jared’s death taught me to live life to the fullest. To never say no to an adventure. To always take the trip. That you don’t need stuff to be happy. That memories are priceless. No one is promised forever. Enjoy the time you are given.


For the first time in eight years, I am not a complete mess on this day. For the first time in eight years, I worked on this day. For the first time in eight years, my son and I are separated on this day. And the fact that my son is away at college with limited contact and has to cope with this day on his own is hard on my mama heart. Maybe it’s because I have something else to focus on this year. Maybe it’s a gift from Jared. Or maybe it’s a sign of healing. No matter the reason, this day has not been as difficult as in years past. Maybe with time I will not dread this day.


Time is a funny thing. Since Jared died, my life has been marked as before and after. His death forever changed my perception of time. But one thing time cannot change is how much Jared is loved and missed. Each and every day. Time will never change that. 


Eight years today. Yesterday and forever. 


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.