SCOTTDALE, AZ - On August 30, 2010, Keena Wallace's husband died in a single car crash. She called it the worst day of her life. Keena and Erickson Wallace had known each other since they were just 10 years old.
"I kept wishing, why can't he come back? Why does he have to be gone forever?" Keena remembers
Now, she's reliving every tearful moment, knowing her co-worker, Stephanie Raetz, is feeling that same excruciating pain of losing a spouse. The 29-year-old officer was killed in the line of duty .
"And she's just going to have to go through all of the emotions I went through. To be honest, the beginning was easiest for me, until it really set it in that I was never going to see him again and there's nothing you can do about it because you can't go to sleep and wake up tomorrow and say 'can I have this all disappear?'" Keena says.
That's why Stephanie's co-workers started collecting money for the Raetz family using this website . In just over one day, they've collected more than $8,000.
Employees, friends, family, even complete strangers from all over the country are giving what they can.
"What it will be able to do is to allow her to pay her mortgage and not have to worry about how she's going to do that when she can't possibly come to work," says Marlie Averitte, the CFO of Affiliated Dermatology.
While it seems unimaginable life could ever go on for Stephanie, Keena is proof there's hope.
Nearly three years after her husband's death, she's engaged and a mom to 10-month-old Lilianna. What's more, Keena is expecting another baby, due October 25th, which happens to be Keena's 30th birthday.
It's a blessing and a new path, different than the one she ever imagined for herself, but a journey that somehow turned tragedy into pure love and incredible joy.
Keena says she'll never forget Erickson and the wonderful years they had together, but says she feels blessed to at least feel happiness again.