Susie wheldon, wife of late indycar champion dan wheldon, opens up about life without him electricity news philippines

"Cocky. Self-confident. Outgoing, but not really arrogant," she called the toothy young driver. "He was wearing this long black peacoat and had this mussed blonde hair and great English accent. I noticed he was handsome. But I was so busy trying to fake that I knew what I was doing, I never saw him as my future husband."

Dan Wheldon had grown up in a small town north of London. His dad, a plumber, raced go-carts and put Dan in the driver’s seat when he was 4. By 10, Dan was British Junior Kart champion. After high school, he moved to America to drive Indy cars.

He and Susie worked together for two years. She set up photo shoots, staging him with the Jim Beam logo, traveling to races. She was cheering at the finish line when he won his first race in Japan, screaming beside the track in 2005, when he won St. Petersburg’s first grand prix.

Later that year, after winning the Indianapolis 500, she said, "That was the first time I really felt him hug me." The celebration was epic. Susie had to stay sober, to make sure Dan got to his 6 a.m. interview with "Good Morning America." At 5:30 a.m., she pulled him out of the still raging party, propped him in a chair, put a microphone in his hand — and woke him when he fell asleep during commercials.

Dan Wheldon holds Sebastian alongside Susie, who is holding Oliver, with the Borg Warner Trophy on the yard of bricks during the 95th Indianapolis 500 Mile Race Trophy Presentation at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 30, 2011, in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Afterwards, Dan spotted a tattoo parlor. On a whim, he and Susie had each other’s initials inscribed inside their wrists. "Dan had never gotten a tattoo," she said. "I don’t know why all of a sudden he wanted to that night, but he was so excited about it, he called his dad to tell him."

Then a driver in an outside lane tried to cut toward the center. In an instant, cars were flying, rolling, bursting into flames. Dan was driving so fast he would have crossed a football field in less than a second. There was no way to stop, nowhere to steer to avoid smashing into the pileup — 15 cars crumpled in charred wreckage.

For months, Susie couldn’t get out of bed. While others took her boys to play, she sat alone in that big house Dan had built, surrounded by his trophies, mourning that their children would never know him, except through the stories of others.

She took the boys to the next Indianapolis 500, where 300,000 fans donned Dan’s signature white sunglasses. She took the boys to a go-cart track in England, where Dan’s boyhood buddies told stories of his pranks. She took them to a Top Kart race in Indiana, where a team owner presented Sebastian with his own go-cart. The boy, barely 4, begged his mom to let him "drive like Daddy."

Susie wanted to go to those events, to show her boys how beloved their dad was. "But I felt like I had to share Dan with so many people, I couldn’t figure out where I fit in any more," she said. "Every time someone told a story about Dan, it was like ripping off a Band-aid."

That whole first year, she kept thinking Dan was going to come home, just walk through that door and scoop her into his arms. "It wasn’t until I had to go to the Social Security office and sign that form that said: Marriage terminated by death. That’s what made it real."

Jenn St. Cin, who is Susie’s closest friend, tried to help her through the aftermath. "She’s been to the darkest place of anyone I’ve known," said Jenn. "I’ve never seen the physical pain of grief like that. She couldn’t breathe. Literally. She would call me five times a day saying, ‘I’m not going to make it.’ "

Susie rented a house in the Old Northeast and put the two cars he had won at the Indy 500s into storage. When her boys are old enough, Sebastian will get the 2005 convertible Corvette, which was the car that set the pace and positioned racers for the first race; Oliver will inherit the 2011 Camaro.

Once she had resettled, Susie set about designing her dream house. Dan had left her a comfortable inheritance, and she wanted plenty of room for her boys to play. Working with an architect, she created a modern two-story surrounding an in-ground pool, with a walk-in closet that would have made Dan proud.