It’s been almost five years since Natasha Richardson tragically died after suffering a horrific injury following a ski accident—but it’s one wound that time can’t heal for her husband, Liam Neeson.
The Taken actor opened up to Anderson Cooper on 60 Minutes and revealed that her death “was never real.” He added that “it still kind of isn’t” and admitted that there are still times he forgets she’s gone.
“There’s periods now in our New York residence when I hear the door opening, especially in the first couple of years,” he said. “Any time I hear that door opening, I still think I’m going to hear her.”
Then, Liam has to mourn her all over again.
“It hits you. It’s like a wave,” the widower told Anderson. “You get this profound feeling of instability. The Earth isn’t stable anymore and then it passes and it becomes more infrequent, but I still get it sometimes.”
On March 16, 2009, the 45-year-old actress sustained a head injury after falling during a beginner’s ski lesson at Mont Tremblant in Quebec. Although she was initially fine, she began to complain of a headache and was taken to the hospital, where she was admitted in critical condition.
It wasn’t long after she arrived that she was declared brain-dead from the brain swelling she experienced following the fall.
Liam then had to make the difficult decision to take his wife and the mother of their children, Daniel and Micheál, off life support.
“I went to her and told her I loved her,” he said. “[I] said, ‘Sweetie, you’re not coming back from this, you’ve banged your head’…she and I had made a pact, if any of us got into a vegetative state that we’d pull the plug… that was my immediate thought, ‘Okay, these tubes have to go. She’s gone.’”
Despite her death, there’s a part of Natasha that continues to live on—thanks to organ donation. Liam was able to pass on her heart, kidneys and liver to people in need.
“She’s keeping three people alive,” he gushed. “It’s terrific and I think she would be very thrilled and pleased by that.”
To see Liam’s full interview with Anderson Cooper, tune into 60 Minutes this Sunday.