Once again it is September.


September used to be one of my favorite months of the year. I met my late husband in September. We had our first date in September. We were married in September. And we conceived our miracle baby in September.


September was a month full of blessings. 


Then in 2014, my late husband died in September. He died exactly one week before our wedding anniversary. And September became a month of sorrow and painful memories. 


September is now my least favorite month.


September 16th will be eight years since my husband died. Eight years since I had to celebrate our anniversary alone for the first time. Eight years since my world changed.


People ask if the grief has gotten easier. The answer is no. I don’t think it ever gets easier. I think I’ve gotten better at handling it. I think I’ve grown accustomed to carrying the weight of grief.


The first year of grief is honestly a blur. I got up every day, took care of my son, went to work, did all the things that were expected of me but honestly have very few memories. Especially those first six months. Then I was just completely numb and functioning on autopilot. 


The second year I decided would be all about my late husband. I would love for him. Honor his memory. Make sure his name was said and he was not forgotten. Somewhere towards the end of the second year, I decided I wanted to live. Not for Jared. But for myself. 


I decided the third year would be the year for me. The year to figure out who I was now. Who I wanted to be. Where I wanted my life to go. That decision changed my life.


I have been on multiple adventures since my late husband died. My son and I have traveled the world. Started a charity to honor my late husband. We wear our Breathing for Jared shirts every time we travel. And someone always asks about them and we have the opportunity to share Jared’s story. To keep his memory alive. By sharing his story, Jared continues to change the world, even in death.


This September will be different. My son and I usually do something on September 16th to honor his dad. It’s a day we take off from school and work and do whatever we need to do to get through the day. Cry, laugh, whatever gets us through the day. And the day typically involves pizza, Jared’s favorite meal. But this September will be different. My son is away at college. It is the first year we will not be together on angelversary. And for some reason, that is making me dislike September even more.


Maybe one day September will be a month full of blessings again. Maybe one day it will be a month that I look forward to again. But for now, September is my least favorite month of the year.


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.