PRESCOTT, AZ - In a handmade chest at the foot of her bed, Claire Caldwell holds on to the love of her life.
Inside that handmade chest, the t-shirts and pillows still smell like Robert Caldwell, who died June 30 battling the Yarnell Hill Fire.
"I don't want to have a home that doesn't honor and pay tribute to him. He was just way too beautiful and I love him too much," she said.
They were in love the moment they met.
"My heart fluttered," she said. "I remember looking into his eyes and it was like he was familiar to me,"
Claire was a single mom, raising a little boy named Zion. She says Robert made them a family.
"Last father's day my son asked him if he could call him dad. Robert and I looked at each other with tears in our eyes," she said.
Robert and Claire were married eight months after they first met. She knew she shared him with his brothers during the Granite Mountain Hotshots.
Robert first battled the Docie Fire and returned home. Days later, he was called to help with the Yarnell Fire.
"I would go through this again and again. I wouldn't change anything. As painful as it is, he changed me for the better and made me a better person. I'm a better mother even. And my son, he made my son a better person to," she said.
Claire says she doesn't want to move on. Instead, she wants to move forward. She gained a new family in Robert's mother, Linda.
"The times that I'm upset and crying, she's the strong one and vice versa. You sort of trade places. It just works that way," said Claire. She knows that Robert would want her to move on and not be alone.
Claire even speaks about Robert still in the present tense. She says she is still very much in love with him.
"I think about that sometimes. I'm like 'why did God send me my soul mate only to take him away?' And then I think, maybe I shouldn't take it so personally. He had his own path. His own destiny. He has a job to do in heaven. I believe I still have a job to do here on Earth. I do believe I'll see him again."