Vanessa Hughes-Ainsworth, 35, Southport, Qld
Looking up from my notes, I saw a doctor walking into the emergency department. Who's that? I thought, stifling a giggle. With his sideburns and John Lennon glasses, he looked like a throwback from the 1960s.
It was 1998 and I was a nurse at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney. I hadn't spotted this mystery man before but despite his unique look, he was cute.
He raised his eyebrows at me and I blushed. That evening, I bumped into him again at the pub near the hospital.
'I'm Allen, can I buy you a drink?' he asked in a thick Welsh accent. Nodding, we were immediately at ease.
'Can I take you out?' he asked at the end of the night.
'Name a day,' I smiled.
There was no messing about. Something already told me that Allen might be the one.
We started dating and within a month, Allen said he loved me. In December we got engaged and flew to the UK to get married.
The wedding was just like Allen - simple and comfortable, like putting on a warm coat in the cold. It was perfect.
On our honeymoon we travelled around the world, lying on beaches in Greece and punting down rivers in Thailand.
'Australia's still our home,' Allen said to me one night.
'Maybe we can go back and start the family we've been talking about,' I said, snuggling up to him.
In June 2000, we bought a house in Toowoomba, Qld, near where my parents Valda, 68, and Ron, 71, lived.
I'd never felt so happy and it was about to get better. After three months, I fell pregnant.
'We're having a baby, Baby Dog,' I smiled, using Allen's silly pet name.
'We are?' he cried, his face alight with excitement. Then he scooped me up into his arms. 'That's the best news I've ever heard,' he yelled.
An ultrasound revealed we were having a girl. 'What about a Welsh name like Cerys?' I suggested.
'It means beloved one,' Allen smiled. 'I love it.'
Then, a few months into my pregnancy, I woke up from the most vivid nightmare.
'What's the matter?' Allen asked groggily, as I sat bolt upright in bed.
'I've just had a dream,' I said shakily. 'One of my colleagues called and said you'd died.'
'I'm right here,' he soothed, pulling me into his arms.
The next day I tried to brush the dream aside, but it had rattled me. It must be my hormones, I reasoned.
That Saturday, I went to buy Allen some pants. At the till, I suddenly had a vision I'd be returning them. It was because Allen had died. Stop being morbid, I chided myself.
On November 27, 2002, a few weeks on, I was late for work. Backing out of the garage, I realised I hadn't said goodbye to Allen. He was flying out to some rural clinics that day but he'd be home for tea.
You'll see him later, I thought.
But something made me stop and run back inside. Bolting upstairs, I ran into the bedroom. Allen was doing his tie.
'Forgotten something?' he asked. 'I forgot to say goodbye,' I said, throwing my arms around him.
'I'll bring something for tea,' he smiled. 'Love you.'
'Love you too,' I grinned, before racing back to the car as fast as my six-month bump would allow.
After my shift, I met Mum for coffee. Dad was having skin lesions removed, so I sat with her until he was finished.
Suddenly my mobile rang. It was one of my colleagues.
'Ness, you need to get to the hospital,' she said.
'What's happened to Dad?' I panicked, thinking something was wrong with his treatment.
'Ness,' she said. 'It's Allen.'
My heart stopped. It was just like my dream.
She wouldn't tell me any more. With Mum and Dad, I raced to St Vincents Hospital, the hospital where I worked. Walking into reception, all the nurses turned to look at me.
Their pale faces said it all. Allen was dead. Mark, one of the doctors, came over to me.
'I'm sorry,' he said, shaking his head. 'Allen's plane crashed in the bush after a mechanical fault. Nobody survived.'
I clasped my swollen belly, trying to take it in. It seemed inconceivable. We were so happy, starting a family.
Sinking to a seat, I buried my head in my arms. 'No,' I sobbed. 'Allen, we need you.'
Mum put her arms around me but I was inconsolable. Life had suddenly lost all meaning. Without Allen there was nothing.
Somehow Mum and Dad got me home. Tossing and turning in bed that night I replayed my nightmare over again. I knew, I wept, clinging to Allen's pillow.
Over the next few weeks I tried to stay calm for the baby. But at first, even the thought of giving birth filled me with grief.
I had always imagined Allen would be beside me, proudly holding our daughter. Now, I'd never have that. The town rallied around. We held the funeral at a local chapel, releasing balloons and playing Robbie Williams' Angel. 'Goodbye my angel,' I wept.
That Christmas, Mum and Dad stayed with me. We set Allen's place at the table, putting a photo of him next to it. Our baby was growing inside me, a new life, and yet I felt hollow.
When Cerys was born on March 5, 2002, Mum and my sister Melissa were there. It was beautiful, but I missed Allen so much. 'Her eyes, her hair, even her feet are like his,' said Mum tearfully.
As I struggled to be a single mum, I joined support groups and tried to recover.
Still, with every milestone Cerys met, I wished that Allen could be there.
Alone every night, I craved companionship.
At 29, I was still so young but after everything I'd been through I felt like an old woman.
'You have to get out there again,' Mum told me eventually. 'It's what he would've wanted.'
She was right and later I met Richard, 39, on a dating site. He adored Cerys from the outset and also had his own kids - Luke, 18, and Danica, 16.
Richard had come out of a painful break-up and I was grieving for Allen. For the first few months we were a shoulder for each other to cry on.
But over time our relationship grew into something more. It surprised me how similar Richard and Allen were.
When I flew off the handle, he'd listen to me calmly. 'It's probably not that important, is it?' he'd say.
It was exactly what Allen would have said.
Perhaps Allen's sent Richard to look after Cerys and me, I thought.
When Richard and I got married, I invited all the people who'd been so supportive in my grief.
I thanked them for being there during my darkest hours and together, we celebrated one of my brightest days.
After the bridal waltz, we played Robbie Williams' Angel and I sent Allen a silent kiss.
Today, it's been six years since Allen's death. Part of my heart will always belong to him, and I'll always wish Cerys had met him.
I've told her she's special because she has two daddies - one in heaven, and one here with us. She has a photo of her heaven daddy in her room.
I've taken Cerys to see Allen's mum and dad in Wales, and they've met Richard too. They like him, which means a lot.
If I've learnt anything from falling so hard so young, it's that you only get one chance at life.
I hope that Allen's happy, wherever he is, and I want him to know that I am too.
Allen gave me the most wonderful memories and for that, I'll always be thankful.
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