The world is celebrating the victorious rescue of the 12 Thai soccer players and coach who were trapped in a cave for more than two weeks, but for the wife of the Thai Navy SEAL who was killed amid the rescue effort, the aftermath is more difficult.
Valeepoan Gunan’s husband, Saman Gunan, 38, lost his life during the rescue efforts on July 6, while delivering oxygen tanks to the boys and their 25-year-old coach. According to the BBC, the “highly-trained diver” lost consciousness around 2 a.m. on his way out of the cave, and could not be revived by his fellow rescuers. Now his wife is taking to social media to memorialize him.
“I really loved him,” Valeepoan told BBC News. “Saman once said we never knew when we would die. We can’t control that, so we need to cherish every day.”
Valeepoan has been posting touching messages of tribute to her late husband on her Instagram account. Thousands of people have shown their support for her, sending comforting wishes and calling her late husband a hero.
In an Instagram post shared on Saturday, Gunan’s widow writes, “You’ll always be with me… There’s no one like you… If you’re not with me, I don’t want to go on breathing… because we promised each other we would use the same breath.”
“I miss you. I love you so much; I love you like you’re my very heart,” read her latest Instagram post. “I don’t know why I love you so much… from now on when I wake up… who will I kiss?”
She continued to share photos of him and of the two of them together.
“I wish I could turn back time and stop it forever,” she wrote in another post.
People from every corner of the world have written to show support. Messages have been written in Portuguese, Spanish, English, and many other languages, hailing the late Navy SEAL as a hero for his efforts to rescue the boys and the coach.
“Deepest condolences may he Rest In Peace stay strong for your beloved family, Love from Myanmar, ” wrote a commenter. “sorry for your loss and deepest condolences to you… he died a hero. keeping u in prayers. With love from Singapore,” wrote another commenter. Another added, “I’m so sorry for your loss, but the world will remember your husband and his heroic efforts. Be strong.”
Gunan was honored by fellow Thai Navy SEALs in a ceremony in Chiang Rai before being airlifted to his home province of Roi Et, where he will be cremated on Saturday, according to the Straits Times.
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