A 9/11 Special from the AfterTalk

In memory of all those who we lost on 9/11


There is a heavy debt of guilt whenever I realize that our new life wouldn’t exist had Arron not died. Through the pain of our grief, we discovered strength we didn’t know we possessed, learned to appreciate the gifts of life and have empathy for others who were themselves in pain. We were awakened into life by death.

Experiencing death head-on opened the door to new opportunities in our lives. In my longing to be with Arron, willing him to exist in some new form, I lost my fear of death – something I’ve come to see as the unexpected gift of grief – a lack of fear that unmasks an entirely new universe of possibility…

Author, mother, and widow Abigail Carter wrote this on the tenth anniversary of her husband Aaron’s death in the World Trade Center on 9/11


“My father, Norberto, was a pastry chef at ­Windows on the World in Tower One. For 10 years, he made many fancy and famous ­desserts, but the sweetest dessert he made was the marble cake he made for us at home. … Whenever we parted, Poppi would say, ‘Te amo. Vaya con Dios.’ And this morning, I want to say the same thing to you, Poppi. I love you. Go with God.”

Catherine Hernandez at the World Trade Center site in 2008

“My older brother John lived [his life] in Technicolor. … When he walked in the door, the whole house lit up. And I’m sure heaven lit up when he got there too.”

Anthoula Katsimatides, speaking at the World Trade Center site in 2005

“My son, firefighter Leon Smith Jr., who was the sunshine of my life. He gave his life so that others could live. I love you, I miss you and we’ll meet again soon.”

Irene Smith spoke lovingly of her son, a member of Ladder Co. 118 FDNY, during a memorial service in New York

photo by Larry Lynn one year before 9/11

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