Five days ago, Heidi Nunes-Tucker lost the love of her life while vacationing in Barcelona, Spain, where a terrorist steered a speeding van down a crowded street, killing 13 and wounding many more.
She tells PEOPLE the emotional aftermath “has been utterly horrible.” Still, she has found in the kindness of the many people who have reached out to comfort her.
“There is more good than bad in this world,” the 40-year-old mother of a teenage son tells PEOPLE. “I wouldn’t wish this kind of pain on anybody, but … I know I can’t bring him back, yet it doesn’t make me feel any worse about mankind. People are good and I know this because people have been extending their love and support to me from every part of the world.”
Nunes-Tucker says she is still in Barcelona, waiting for Spanish authorities to release her 42-year-old husband Jared Tucker’s remains. Several members of her family have flown over to Spain to stand by her side through this challenging time.
“He was my person,” Nunes-Tucker says. “I miss him so much. I waited my whole life to find this one person and I don’t know that you are blessed with that kind of love twice. I have been stripped of my world.”
The couple was in Spain last week to celebrate their first wedding anniversary. They married Aug. 6, 2016, after a year-long engagement.
Nunes-Tucker tells PEOPLE she had stopped with Jared for some sangria at a café on the popular La Rambla street. They separated when Tucker went to find a bathroom. Moments later, the van began driving through pedestrians. She was pushed inside a souvenir kiosk and stayed there hiding until the chaos was over.
Afterwards, she was unable to find Tucker. She spent hours searching for him before being informed by police he was killed in the terror attack.
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“He was kind, good, tolerant, loving, hardworking … my husband’s motto was ‘Work hard, play hard,’ and that’s how we lived our lives,” Nunes-Tucker says. “I found my one true love. It’s just unfortunate that we had such a short run, but it was a very beautiful time and it was worth every second because he was full of life, love, and happiness.”
Nunes-Tucker says the couple had spent months planning their very first trip to Europe, and claims they were not at all deterred by reports of similar terror attacks in other nearby cities.
“We are both very patriotic, and we believe in country and we believe in people,” she says. “We talked about the risks and you can’t live your life in fear. It doesn’t really matter where you are, these things can happen anywhere. Bullies will always be bullies and they strike anywhere, and neither Jared nor I wanted to live our life in fear of that.”
Nunes-Tucker says she has been struggling to make sense of last week’s deadly attack and realizes she must be strong for her children back home.
“Jared loved people and he would not want any of us to bow down to hatred or intolerance,” she explains. “I need people to remember my husband for being the amazing person that he was, and this situation does not take away from that.
“My world has been taken from me, and things will be a lot more empty now, but I am a mother and I have to go back home and still be a mother,” Nunes-Tucker says. “I am a teacher and I still have a classroom of children to take care of, so I have to carry on. We both knew we had found this fantastic love. In time, I will be okay.”