In March 2009, actress Natasha Richardson died from head injuries that she suffered in a minor skiing accident in Canada. She fell on a beginner's slope in Quebec and hit her head, following which she returned to her hotel, before being taken gravely ill.
Her loving husband, to whom she had been married to since 1994, recalls speaking to her following the fall:
“I spoke to her and she said, ’Oh darling. I’ve taken a tumble in the snow.’ That’s how she described it.”
Immediately flying to the location of the hospital she had been taken to in Montreal, upon seeing the x-rays of her brain, Liam knew that the damage to his beautiful wife had been done. He recalls:
“It was like a cartoon. The brain’s squashed up against the side of the skull — as the blood tries to get a release.”
"Sweetie, you're not coming back from this"
Hearing the doctor's diagnosis that Natasha was brain-dead, Liam knew what she would have wanted him to do, having spoken about it years earlier in case such a terrible situation occurred. He says:
"Obviously she was on life support and stuff. And I went in to her and told her I loved her. Said, ’Sweetie, you’re not coming back from this. You’ve banged your head. It’s — I don’t know if you can hear me, but that’s — this is what’s gone down. [...] She and I had made a pact — if any of us got into a vegetative state that we’d pull the plug. So when I saw her and saw all these tubes, that was my immediate thought, these tubes have to go."
However, before saying his final goodbyes, Liam made sure that her life would not go to waste. By donating three of her organs (her heart, kidneys and liver) today, Natasha is keeping three people alive. Alongside her wonderful legacy, her body continues to live on.
It must have been a inexplicably dark moment for Liam - to turn off the life support that was keeping his wife sustained, but the fact that he did so is a testament to his human strength.
Thanks to him, three dying individuals were saved by Natasha's organs and are still with us today, which Liam deems to be "terrific." Watch what else he has to say on the matter in this short clip:
Diving head-first into work
Following his wife's funeral, attended by her closest friends and relatives, including her actress mother Vanessa Redgrave, Liam refused to take much of a break and plunged himself headfirst into his acting. Starring in a myriad of projects such as Wrath of the Titans, The Dark Knight Rises, Taken 2, A Million Ways to Die in the West and Taken 3, he has undoubtedly kept himself busy, but even working hasn't eased the pain. Even to this day, he finds filming hard-hitting scenes exceptionally difficult. He says:
"Grief hits you [...] It's like a wave. You just get this profound feeling of instability. The earth isn't stable any more and then it passes and it becomes more infrequent, but I still get it sometimes."
As Liam proves, it is often impossible to fully get over loss. 6 years on, he admits:
"It was never real. It still kind of isn't."
But his ability to cope with the absence of Natasha is a learning lesson to us all - that there IS life after losing the ones we love. Especially if that life involves being awesome and fighting bad-guys while already being in one's 60s: