Widows of Granite Mountain Hotshots reflect on loss

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

PRESCOTT, Ariz. -- Linked through their firefighting husbands, brought together again by tragedy, widows of the Granite Mountain Hotshots are talking about loss and healing.

Many of them are still in a state of shock five months later.

"I miss the way he made me feel safe and protected," said Claire Caldwell, who lost her husband, Robert.

"Denial and anger are my two phases," Amanda Misner said. Her husband, Sean, was killed in the Yarnell Hill Fire.

"These men were different," said Juliann Ashcraft, widow of Andrew Ashcraft.

The widows of eight of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, all in one place, reflected on their first holiday season without their husbands and boyfriends.

"I know it would have been a struggle for him because we had just got married Nov. 3 of last year and I know as much as he loved his job, as much as he loved his crew, I know that in some way he must have thought, 'Oh my God, I can't be leaving my family,'" Caldwell said.

The women told "Inside Edition" how hard it's been to accept what happened that horrible June day when changing winds carried the flames right over the tight-knit group, killing 19 of the 20-man crew.

"I didn't believe it," Marsena Thurston said. "I thought not Joe, no way. He would have gotten out of it."

"I don't really like to think about a lot of this stuff because I just feel like he was scared and I don't want to think that about him," said Anthony Rose's widow, Tiffany Hettrick.

"I wake up in the middle of the night to feed my son and I see pictures and I just … I'm in denial," Misner said.

The widows want the world to know these were not just good firefighters, but also good men, who were lost.

"They would say, 'You carry groceries for people, you push in shopping carts, you do yardwork, you are a good contributing member of society,'" Ashcraft said.