Honeymoon Tragedy: Groom, Family Grieve in Hospital

PHOTO: Victor and Crystal Rodriguez on their wedding day, June 4, 2011.
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Victor Rodriguez should be in Sacramento, Calif., relaxed and rejuvenated after his honeymoon in the Bahamas.

Instead, the 22-year-old is lying in a hospital bed in Orlando, Fla., with multiple internal injuries, grieving for his wife, Crystal Ann Andrews Rodriguez, who died just 12 days after they were married.

His parents have been by his side since receiving word that their daughter-in-law died after the newlyweds fell during a parasailing accident on Lucaya beach in the Bahamas.

In their first media interview, Victor's father, Ruben Rodriguez, and mother, Jeannie Rodriguez, told ABCNews.com they're coping thanks to the support of their northern California community.

"Friends, prayers ... overwhelming love and support -- that is what's getting us through," said his mother.

Victor Rodriguez Recovering Slowly in Orlando

On Monday, Victor walked for the first time since the accident, but, his father said, because he "took a fall from a great height," it will be a while before he heals.

Kevin Linder, Victor's best man, said Victor is like a brother to him. They spoke Tuesday, the first day Victor wasn't hooked up to hospital machines.

"Mentally, he's just got a long road to go," said Linder.

On Wednesday doctors did an exploratory surgery on Victor's liver. Further details about Victor's medical condition are not yet being released.

Ruben and Jeannie Rodriguez, who called Crystal the daughter they never had, are devastated.

"I cannot tell you how much we loved her," said Jeannie Rodriguez, 55, who works as a ministry associate at Bayside Church in Sacramento.

A Beautiful Couple, Inside and Out

Friends said Victor and Crystal lifted other people's spirits with their positive energy.

Crystal was Victor's first serious girlfriend. They dated for about four years before becoming engaged.

"You could just tell," said Linder. "You knew they were going to get married."

The Rodriguez family said Crystal, or "Cutes," as Victor affectionately called her, was outgoing and upbeat.

"You couldn't help but fall in love with her," Jeannie Rodriguez said.

To say she lit up a room sounds cliche, said bridesmaid Jeanie Scott, but "it's so incredibly true. More true than any other person I've met."

A Joyous Wedding for Victor and Crystal Rodriguez

The California State University students, both 22, married in Roseville on June 4 at Valley Springs Presbyterian Church, surrounded by more than 200 family members and friends. Because both were big sports fans, they chose the San Jose Sharks' colors for their wedding: The bridesmaids wore teal.

One of the highlights of the evening was the couple's first dance.

It started out a traditional slow dance, Linder said, then turned into a dance-off set to Michael Jackson's "Thriller" and several other songs.

"It was awesome," Linder said. "It was totally funny."

When it came time for the mother-son dance, Jeannie Rodriguez cried and laughed as she and her son swayed to Celine Dion's "Because You Loved Me."

After the wedding, the newlyweds spent a few days in Los Angeles, visiting Disneyland before traveling to the Bahamas. Then, one day before they were scheduled to leave the Caribbean and return home, they went parasailing. That was when Victor lost his bride of 12 days.

Rob Maxey, the pastor who officiated at the wedding, said Victor was "crushed."

"It's O.K. to be angry, it's O.K. to be confused," Maxey said he told Victor. "You can be mad as hell and it's O.K. God can handle that.'"

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