(CNN)Michael Riordan's nightmare started with a phone call that he thought was a wrong number.
Riordan couldn't understand why the chaplain from the Northeast had called him in New Mexico.
"There was a chaplain from the hospital that called and he said, 'Well, I'm from Philadelphia,' I forgot the name of the hospital, and I said, 'Well, my wife was flying to Chicago today so you must be looking for somebody else,'" Riordan told CNN New Mexico affiliate KRQE.
But Riordan soon learned the awful truth: His wife, Jennifer Riordan, who was on Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 last week, was killed after a piece of the engine flew off the plane. Part of the engine's fan blade shattered the window next to where Jennifer Riordan was sitting, creating a hole that nearly sucked her out of the plane before fellow passengers were able to haul her back in.
The plane, which had just left New York about 20 minutes earlier, made an emergency landing in Philadelphia.
The couple was together for nearly 30 years
Jennifer Riordan, 43, had dedicated her life to philanthropy, helping others in Albuquerque and the Southwest region.
In her role as vice president of community relations at Wells Fargo in Albuquerque, Riordan managed the volunteer service of more than 1,000 employees since 2008.
Describing his wife as "kind, loving, caring and sharing," Michael Riordan said he's going to remember those qualities because that's how he and their two children will get through the grief.
"Every decision we make is going to be based on that," he said. "When I have those four little eyes looking at me, thinking how we're going to get through, that's going to make me a better dad, a better husband and a better person."
The couple was together for nearly 30 years, and Michael Riordan said his wife will always be with him.
"It's the love affair that will never end, because no one can take her from my heart and no one can take her from our family," he said.
The thing that he's most thankful for is the phone call he got from her on the morning of her flight.
"One of my most comforting things through all this is she called me that morning to check on the day (and) see what we were going to do when she got home and we ended with, 'I love you. Safe travels.'"