GASTON COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - Gaston County Police Officer Josh Self was injured when his father, Richard Self, drove a car into the Surf and Turf restaurant in Bessemer City, killing Josh's sister and wife and injuring several other family members.
Josh opened up to speak publicly for the first time since that horrific day, to reflect on a woman he says had such a beautiful soul so that maybe her light will continue to shine in this world.
Josh did not want to talk about his father at all. Instead, he said he's sharing his most precious memories of his wife Amanda before she's laid to rest so the world knows just how beautiful she was.
"Amanda was just a wonderful, wonderful person taken way too soon," Josh said.
Officer Self, fresh out of the hospital after the tragic car attack, is still recovering from his serious brain and other physical injuries. He requested WBTV not show his face on camera.
"I'm recovering physically," Josh said. "Each day is getting a little bit easier. I'm still in a lot of pain."
The bumps and bruises will soon heal for Officer Self. But after losing his wife during that unforeseen tragedy, it's his broken heart that will take the most time to repair.
"Never intended in a million years for us to part ways so soon. You're not going to find many girls like Amanda. She was an outdoorsman. She loved to fish, she loved to hunt. She'd get out and get dirty with me in the yard," Josh recalled.
Josh and Amanda, who was an ER nurse at Caramont Hospital in Gastonia, were married for almost 15 years. They have two kids together.
For Josh, during these trying times, it's his brothers and sisters in uniform - plus Amanda's coworkers - who have been a solid support system for a man who's lost his life partner and best friend.
"One hundred percent - they've been great. They've stopped by many times a day and have offered to cut my grass, doing all the yard work and all that kind of stuff for me," Josh said, "So it's been unbelievable."
"You're not going to replace her," he continued. "What I want people to remember her for... strive to be as great as she was."
Josh and his family will lay Amanda to rest on Sunday.
Josh says he expects to be back to work in a few weeks if all goes well.