ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico (CBSNews) — Family and friends gathered Sunday to mourn an Albuquerque bank executive who died after the Southwest Airlines plane she was on .
Nearly a thousand people attended the evening service for— a beloved member of the community, a wife and mother of two.
Now for the first time, Jennifer’s husband Michael is speaking out publicly.
Here’s a transcript of his conversation with CBS News’ transportation correspondent Kris Van Cleave.
MICHAEL RIORDAN: One of the most comforting things through all this is she called me that morning … she just called to check in on the day, how, what we were going to do that night when she got home and we ended with I love you, safe travels.
KRIS VAN CLEAVE: How did you find out about what had happened?
MR: There was a chaplain from the hospital that called … and he said well I’m from Philadelphia I forgot the name of the hospital and I said well my wife was flying to Chicago today and he said no there was a plane that was diverted here I’ve going to have to have a doctor give you a call … and then the doctor called and said I’m sorry Michael but we’ve done everything we can but we couldn’t save her … and I just dropped the phone.
MR: Then I switched to the second and third phone calls the worst calls of my life to her father and mother and then trying to figure out how to tell my kids that their mom wasn’t coming home.
KVC: What do you want your kids to hold onto when they think about their mother.
MR: Kind, loving, caring and sharing … 100 percent … and that’s every decision we make is going to be based on that … when I have those four little eyes look at me thinking how we’re going to get through that’s going to make me a better dad and … a better husband and a better person.
KVC: Do you see her as your guardian angel now?
MR: Absolutely! She was before … she’s been that day since we met when we were teenagers … and I just didn’t know it and now I do.
KVC: If you could talk to her today what would you tell her?
MR: I love you, I have no idea how I can do this without her but I can. It’s the love affair that will never end. No one can take her from my heart and no one can take her from our family.
Mr. Riordan said he knows there will be some dark days ahead as he and his two children Averie, 12, and Josh, 10, really begin to grieve. They are carrying guardian angel coins handed out at the memorial service last weekend — a reminder that Jennifer is still looking out for them.
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