Crash tourist faces new life without husband

Last updated 08:09 19/11/2012
Kirsten Steinke
ADVENTUROUS SPIRIT: Kirsten Steinke.
Kirsten Steinke and Kenneth Kallan Stithem.
LOST LIFE: Kirsten Steinke and Kenneth Kallan Stithem.

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An American woman severely injured in a crash in New Zealand spent more than a month unaware her husband was killed but says she now knows he is dead.

Kirsten Steinke and her husband, Kallan Stithem, were on honeymoon in New Zealand when their car collided with a cement truck in the Waikato on September 20.

Stithem was killed while Steinke suffered multiple injuries, including a brain injury.

She spent several weeks at Waikato Hospital with her parents James and Gerri by her bedside.

James Steinke said last month, just before he, his wife and daughter flew home, that his daughter was "not cognisant of everything that has occurred". She was not yet aware that her husband had been killed.

Now back home in Colorado, Steinke is in hospital continuing with her recovery.

"Day by day I'm getting stronger and sadly, I now understand the situation that preceded my arrival at the hospital," she wrote in an online journal.

"My source of strength has been hearing and knowing I have so much love from my friends and family around me. I still have some progress to make, but cannot wait to see you all. That time approaches quickly."

She wrote a couple days earlier that she was working hard to get back to "real life" and joked that she loved living in a hospital.

Steinke's condition was continuing to improve, her father wrote. The focus wasn't so much on her medical care but more physical and occupational challenges, he said.

She was regaining her strength, was more mobile and her memory was slowly returning.

"Kirsten's wit and humour are dominating her daily interactions with all the staff.  They are always on guard for an unexpected quip or comment that surprises them all," James Steinke wrote.

"Quote of the week from Kirsten: Sometimes it's good to have something like this happen, because you learn you can live through it."

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