Today is the day of love. One that can be a joyous day. Full of laughter and celebration. It is also one that can be full of sorrow for anyone who has lost their love.


The first Valentine’s Day after my late husband died, was incredibly difficult. Even though he always said it was a Hallmark day, he still went out of his way to make it special for me. Flowers, candy, love notes, and always a special dinner. And that first Valentine’s Day after he died, my friends took my son and I to a theme park so that we could celebrate the day together. They gave up their special time to ensure I wouldn’t be alone on Valentine’s Day. 


The following  year my friends, and I all went to dinner. And they ensured my son had a gift to give me. The third year my girlfriends and I went to see my favorite musician in concert, and my son brought me home a card he had made at school. Every year, my friends and my child have ensured that I am not alone on Valentine’s Day. That I still feel loved and special. Just like Jared wanted.


And this year was no different. Last night one of Jared’s best friends sent me a text message. It said I hope this doesn’t sound creepy. Jared says Happy Valentine’s Day. 


To me, it was not creepy at all. It was wonderful. Brought a smile to my face. And tears to my eyes. How amazing is it that nine years later, our friends still think of me on Valentine’s Day. Still ensure that I know Jared loves me.


His death did not end our love. I still love him. And I always will. I can still feel him around me. Especially on days or in the moments when I need him most.


And even though I won’t get to celebrate another Valentine’s Day with him in person, I will treasure the 16 we were able to celebrate together. The time he made me a paper airplane card. Or wrote me a poem to explain why there were no flowers.  Planned a special getaway with friends. Or we had a romantic dinner at home after our baby had fallen asleep. 


Today, honor your love story. No matter how long or how short it was. Love never dies.


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.