On Friday morning, Vadim Kondratyuk was supposed to get home to his family in Antelope, California, after a long haul to New York.
Instead, he was taken to the intensive care unit at a hospital in Utah, where he would spend his last four days.
"I started dating him when I was 14. I've known him for about 7 years," said Natalia Kondratyuk, his wife. "We met at church and would go to church together."
Vadim had just turned 26 years old. Since he wasn't able to celebrate his birthday at home, his wife had flowers ready. But sadly, the flowers will now be for a funeral.
"He's the best husband for me as a wife. For the kids. He really loved the kids," Natalia said.
As a truck driver, Vadim was used to driving coast to coast, not getting a lot of sleep. But what happened on this trip was something nobody could've seen coming.
Vadim had a bad toothache even before he left, so he stopped in Oklahoma to see a dentist. The dentist cleaned it and gave him antibiotics. On the rest of the trip, Vadim felt better, until he got to New York and his mouth began to swell up. His older brother Miroslav came to help him get back home faster.
As they continued on the road, Vadim started having trouble breathing and couldn't stand. So Miroslav drove him to the nearest hospital in Utah.
Vadim went into a coma for the next few days as his good friend and wife came out to be by his side.
Natalia said she never expected it to be the last time she would see her husband.
"I saw everything all over the floor. They finished up the surgery. I was hoping he was gonna do OK," Natalia said. "On Sunday night, our pastors flew in. We needed their prayers a lot."
On Monday morning, Vadim took his final breath, leaving behind his wife, only 22 years old, and 2 young children, 2-year-old Vanessa and 11-month-old Maya.
"He didn't get to make it home," Natalia said. "My children right now are the most important thing. My main thing is to take care of the kids for them."
Thankfully, Natalia has 12 siblings and her family has made sure to be by her side through this heartbreaking tragedy. But she knows what's to come in the next weeks, the next months, even the next years will be tough to get through.
"I was always waiting for him to come home, especially after trucking. I wouldn't see him for weeks," Natalia said. "And just that moment you know he's coming home it makes you happy. So that's why I was waiting for him."
Natalia described Vadim as the "perfect" husband and father. For now, she's just trying to find the meaning in what she believes is part of God's plan.
A GoFundMe has been set up for the family's medical expenses and to help with Vadim's two young children.