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"I've Lost My Prince"

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Terri Irwin heard of husband Steve’s fatal accident via a telephone call from her brother-in-law. “I remember thinking, ‘Don’t say it. Don’t say it. Don’t say it,'” Irwin told Barbara Walters in a 20/20 interview that aired on ABC Sept. 27. As she listened to the devastating news, her daughter played outside. “Bindi was skipping, skipping along outside the window, and I thought, ‘Oh, my children. He wouldn’t have wanted to leave the children.'”

Losing the man Irwin, 42, calls her “prince” has been a difficult period of adjustment, which she’s getting through “one minute at a time,” she told Walters, who visited Irwin inside the family’s Australia Zoo. Explaining the Sept. 4 accident (in which the Crocodile Hunter, 44, was pierced in the heart with a stingray barb) to 8-year-old Bindi was a painful task. “She cried and cried and cried. But I said, ‘We’re still a family. Daddy still loves you. And we have to stay together and get each other through this.'”

Though Irwin found the prospect of speaking at her husband’s Sept. 20 public memorial too overwhelming, Bindi did take to the stage to honor her “hero.” “She wrote it herself,” said Irwin of Bindi’s speech. “She talked into a Dictaphone first, and then I helped her type it out. She said, ‘I don’t want to make any mistakes.'” Their little boy Bob, 2, is also feeling his dad’s absence. “The other night he got the screwdriver out of the drawer,” Irwin told Walters. “And he said, ‘I’m gonna fix the motorbike … so Daddy can drive it from Heaven.'”

Despite the loss, Irwin, an American who met Steve on a visit to his zoo, said that “if I had to do it all over again, even knowing how it ended, I would in a minute…. I had a wonderful 14 years, two beautiful children, and a romance like I didn’t think existed anymore.”

Asked what she’ll miss most, Irwin smiled and said, “He was fun. He taught me it’s okay to play in the rain. And splash in my puddle. And let the kids get dirty. And spill ice cream on your pants. Now I’m going to work really hard at having fun again…. I’m Mrs. Steve Irwin. I’ve got a lot to live up to.”