It’s been almost a year since Alan Thicke suddenly passed away, and his widow has relied on the comfort and support of family and close friends to pull her through.
Last December, Alan was playing a pickup hockey game with his youngest son, Carter, at a skating rink in Burbank, California, when he collapsed. He died of a “ruptured aorta” at the age of 69 in a hospital later that same day.
“We spoke that morning. He woke up that morning and kissed my leg. He used to kiss whatever body part was sticking out of the sheets,” Alan’s widow, Tanya Thicke, recalls in a two-part interview with Access Hollywood‘s Kit Hoover and Natalie Morales of the Dec. 13 morning the Growing Pains star died.
“I got a phone call from him from the hockey rink — he’s there dressing up, getting ready to play hockey — and he’s like, ‘Honey, I’ll be home between six and seven. How about some chicken tonight with extra gravy and lots of TV and a little sex?’ I was like, ‘Deal! I’ll see you at six.’ So I started preparing to go to the market and then I get the phone call that something’s wrong with Alan, that I had to drive down to L.A.” shares Tanya, who lived with Alan on his Carpinteria ranch.
When Tanya, 41, pulled up to the curb, that’s when she “knew something was really, really wrong.”
“There was a spiritual worker there — a spiritual guidance person with a Bible. When I saw her standing there, my heart sank and I remember dropping my water bottle and my heart sank to my stomach,” Tanya explains. “The doctors, they were explaining what happened to him and I’m listening and he said, ‘I’m sorry to tell you Mrs. Thicke, but your husband has expired.’ And I was like, ‘What?!’ ”
The couple was married on May 7, 2005 in Cabo San Lucas. Although they had no children over their almost 12-year marriage, Tanya said in an interview with E! News earlier this year that they were “planning on having a baby” and were designing a nursery in their home in preparation of a new little addition.
“I’m ashamed to admit it, but at one point I didn’t want to live — I really didn’t,” Tanya admits to Hoover and Morales. “And if I didn’t have my family and my friends to listen to me and to hold my hand and to give me the love, the nurturing that I needed, I wouldn’t be standing here in front of you right now.”
Of the things she misses most about Alan, Tanya says, “I miss his sense of humor. I miss his smell. I miss his touch. I miss him telling me how beautiful I am every day.”
Although Tanya is mourning the loss of her husband, she continues to keep his presence alive in their home.
“He left his glasses here that morning and they’re still here. I refuse to move them,” she says of the reading glasses that sit on his bedside table. “What I did keep here in the bathroom are all his colognes. His colognes are all here and what I do sometimes, when I just want to smell him, I’ll just spray his pillow and I’ll go to bed. And believe it or not, that’s kind of soothing for me.”
A week after his passing last year, Tanya opened up about her “gut wrenching sadness.”
“It is with gut wrenching sadness and unbelievable grief that I thank everyone from the bottom of my heart for the outpouring of love and support during this unimaginable time,” she said in a statement to PEOPLE. “Through tears and smiles our dearest of family and friends came together at our home to celebrate the life of my sweet and devoted husband Alan Thicke.”
“Yesterday, along with my step sons and our combined extended family, we laid my beloved husband, soul mate and the patriarch of our family to rest. We ask that you respect our privacy during this time of profound mourning,” she concluded.
Tanya’s two-part interview airs Thursday and Friday on Access Hollywood (check local listings).