‘I’m trying to get used to an empty house’: Survivor of duck boat tragedy haunted by memories

“I still wake up expecting to roll over and see my husband in bed or hear him in the bathroom getting ready for work,” Tia Coleman said at a news conference.

Tia Coleman thegrio.com
Tia Coleman, a survivor of the duck boat disaster in Missouri, says her husband's attempt to rescue their children is what will keep her going after their loss. (Courtesy of CNN/YouTube)

Tia Coleman survived the tragic Missouri duck boat disaster but it’s been an uphill battle living alone without her husband and three children after they died along with other relatives during a family outing on July 19.

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In an interview, Coleman opened up about the tough days ahead and the emptiness she feels at home after surviving the incident but losing her whole family, the Daily Mail reports.

Coleman and her nephew survived harrowing ordeal after the Ride the Ducks of Branson boat capsized killing her husband Glenn and their three children Reece, nine,Evan, seven, and Arya, one.

Coleman talked about how she’s dealing with her grief and how she launched a petition in an effort to get the dangerous amphibious boats banned.

Being home alone is an eerie reality that Coleman says she is till not used to.

“It’s quiet, it’s very quiet,” Tia said during a press conference at her home in Indiana.

“I still wake up expecting to roll over and see my husband in bed or hear him in the bathroom getting ready for work.”

And as the school year ramps up, Coleman said one day she heard the school and quickly forgot that her kids wouldn’t be boarding one anymore.

“I almost yelled, “Hurry up, you’re going to miss the bus!” And then I realized they won’t be getting on any more buses,” she said through tears.

Still Coleman expects to hear her kids voices but instead she’s met with a quiet house.

“I just hear silence,” she added. “It’s a house now, it’s just not a home anymore.”

“So this is my normal, I’m trying to get used to it. I’m trying to get used to an empty house.”

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“As I go through the house, I haven’t done too much – it’s still surreal at times,” she added.

“Arya’s room, the crib, is still there. Evan’s room is still there. They just mean so much to me and I never want a family to have to go through this, I never do.”

Coleman said she still grapples with why she lived.

“I have no more children, the love of my life is gone, why am I here lord?” she recalled asking.

“I could have died in the lake, I could die in my sleep, I could die walking down the steps, but for whatever reason the lord has left me here, so I’m waiting to see what he has in store for me.”

Coleman has found her purpose and launched a  Change.org petition on Tuesday in an effort to so something proactive.

“My family really meant everything to me, so today I want to start a petition to make the duck boats responsible for what they did to my children.”

“There’s nothing that can right the wrong, because I can’t get them back,” she said.

“The only thing that will make this better is that no other family has to go through what I went through, especially since it’s something that can be fixed.”

She’s also asking people to support Senate Bill 3301, which is calling for safety recommendations for passengers on amphibious boats.