It's been nearly two years since his wife, actress Natasha Richardson, died in a shocking skiing accident, but Liam Neeson still remembers every tragic detail.
The Oscar-nominated star -- who was filming in Montreal when it happened -- opens up to the March issue of Esquire about racing to get to his wife's hospital bed.
"I walked into the emergency -- it's like seventy, eighty people, broken arms, black eyes, all that -- and for the first time in years, nobody recognizes me," he tells the mag. "Not the nurses. The patients. No one... So I went outside. It's freezing cold, and I thought, What am I gonna do? How am I going to get past the security?"
Neeson, 58, says he was recognized by a nurse who was on a smoke break.
"I'll tell you, I was so f--king grateful -- for the first time in I don't know how long -- to be recognized," he says. "And this one, she says, 'Go in that back door there.' She points me to it. 'Make a left. She's in a room there.' So I get there, just in time. And all these young doctors, who look all of eighteen years of age, they tell me the worst. The worst."
And though the Irish-born star says he survived by "running away to work" less than a month after the March 2009 accident, he admits he was unable to completely escape the pain.
"It's easy enough to plan jobs, to plan a lot of work," Neeson, who stars in the upcoming flick, Battleship, tells the mag. "That's effective. But that's the weird thing about grief. You can't prepare for it. You think you're gonna cry and get it over with. You make those plans, but they never work."
The star says the hardest moments happen long after sundown.
"It hits you in the middle of the night -- well, it hits me in the middle of the night," he says. "I'm out walking. I'm feeling quite content. And it's like suddenly, boom. It's like you've just done that in your chest."