Although her house is lit with Christmas lights and a Christmas tree will soon go up inside, the widow of Const. Eric Czapnik says the holidays will never be the same.

Almost one year ago, Czapnik, 51, was stabbed to death as he sat in his police cruiser outside the Ottawa Hospital writing up notes about a routine call. He left behind his wife and four children; the youngest, Anthony, was just three years old.

One year later, his wife is trying to carry on.

"I'm trying to celebrate (Christmas). I'm probably overdoing it a bit this year to make it extra special for Anthony . . . and for me," Anna Korutowska said in an exclusive interview with CTV Ottawa.

It's the first time Korutowska has sat down for a one-on-one interview. This past year has been incredibly difficult for her family, who continues to cope day by day with their loss.

"The past year has been a complete rollercoaster," said Korutowska. "We are slowly coming to terms. I don't wake up anymore thinking it's a bad dream . . . this is what it is -- we are trying to cope with it," she said.

More than 8,000 people attended a public funeral service for Czapnik in January. He was described as a man of honour; he was dedicated to the force – and loved to eat pickles.

Prior to his funeral, a parade of police officers marched behind his coffin through the streets of Ottawa, bringing the city to a standstill.

Czapnik was the oldest police recruit ever hired by the Ottawa Police Service. At the age of 48, he accomplished his dream of following in his father's footsteps to become a man of the law.

One year after his death, the pain still exists for his family. But daily life goes on. Korutowska has returned to work and is now in school, and her step-daughter has moved in to help care for little Anthony.

With a report from CTV Ottawa's Carol Anne Meehan