Liam Neeson has described how he found out about his wife Natasha’s tragic ski accident and his huge struggle to cope.
For the first time he described to Esquire magazine his rush to the hospital to be with her after her skiing accident.
He told "I'd been to Montreal maybe twice before. And for some reason, I thought the city's this size." He holds his hands out in front of him then, cupped like he is drinking water.
"I thought that it was this little comfortable little city," he says. "And for some reason, I thought the hospital that I was in a taxi racing toward was gonna be a nice little hospital, about twice the size of this restaurant. But it was this huge, glassy, black place. A Dickensian place, Tom.
"I walked into the emergency — it's like seventy, eighty people, broken arms, black eyes, all that — and for the first time in years, nobody recognizes me. Not the nurses. The patients. No one. And I've come all this way, and they won't let me see her. And I'm looking past them, starting to push — I'm like, Fuck, I know my wife's back there someplace. I pull out a cell phone — and a security guard comes up, starts saying, 'Sorry, sir, you can't use that in here,' and I'm about to ask him if he knew me, when he disappears to answer a phone call or something.
So I went outside. It's freezing cold, and I thought, What am I gonna do? How am I going to get past the security? And I see two nurses, ladies, having a cigarette. I walk up, and luckily one of them recognizes me. And I'll tell you, I was so fucking grateful — for the first time in I don't know how long — to be recognized. And this one, she says, 'Go in that back door there.' She points me to it. 'Make a left. She's in a room there.' So I get there, just in time. And all these young doctors, who look all of eighteen years of age, they tell me the worst." He purses his lips, mouth dry. "The worst."
This is the point where he stops again. He blinks back tears, takes a long look at the table across from us, where members of Natasha Richardson's extended family are, coincidentally, having lunch in this same restaurant. (He and Natasha, this was their place, so it's only a mild coincidence.) I wait. Again, I tell him how sorry I am. Neeson nods. That's when I tell him something horrible that happened to me.
He went back to shooting Chloe, after the funeral.
"I just think I was still in a bit of shock," he says. "But it's kind of a no-brainer to go back to that work. It's a wee bit of a blur, but I know the tragedy hadn't just really smacked me yet."
Now the no-brainer is staying with the work, the good work, as it piles up on him. "I think I survived by running away some. Running away to work. Listen, I know how old I am and that I'm just a shoulder injury from losing roles like the one in Taken. So I stay with the training, I stay with the work. It's easy enough to plan jobs, to plan a lot of work. That's effective. But that's the weird thing about grief. You can't prepare for it. You think you're gonna cry and get it over with. You make those plans, but they never work.
"It hits you in the middle of the night — well, it hits me in the middle of the night. I'm out walking. I'm feeling quite content. And it's like suddenly, boom. It's like you've just done that in your chest."