Rivera described driving to the airport immediately after the shooting to pick up relatives. Her young son, John Paul, saw the airport and wondered if they were going to get his father.
"Ms. Rivera, how do you explain to a 2-year-old the concept of death?" asked Col. Mike Mulligan, the lead prosecutor.
"I couldn't do it," Rivera replied, adding that a therapist later helped her explain what happened.
Rivera identified her husband's former cellphone carrier as Sprint. On Tuesday, Sprint spokeswoman Roni Singleton confirmed to The Associated Press that the carried upgraded its system and required customers to tape a new greeting. Singleton said she was checking to see if the old greeting could be recovered.
When Cindy Seager heard initial reports of a shooting at Fort Hood, she drove home hoping that she wouldn't see an unexpected car on her street. There wasn't one when she arrived.
But two officers came to her door at around 1 a.m., about 12 hours after the shooting. Her husband, Capt. Russell Seager, was dead.
"I'd known him for 30 years," Cindy Seager said. "I had to learn to be independent again, find things to do. It's getting better, but it's difficult."
Shoua Her wiped away tears as recalled how she and her husband, Pfc. Kham Xiong, talked about growing old together and having more children. Now, she said, her children know their slain father only through memories or stories.
"We had talked about how excited we were to purchase our first home. We talked about vacations and places we wanted to go visit. And all that was stripped away from me," she said. "Our daughter will not have her dad to walk her down the aisle. My two sons will never have their dad to take them fishing or (teach them) sports or how to be a gentleman.