If you wrote a second legacy letter today, what would you tell your dad?
I would say that we didn’t move on, we just figured out how to move forward. I have had time to process how I want to handle things, and I have clicked out of survival mode. I got my bachelor’s, my master’s, met my husband, had kids, bought a house … all because of him. That was our plan. I wish he was here for all those things, but I feel like he is. He lives in my kids, their personalities reflect him.
Tell us something about your dad that captures the essence of his personality.
When I was learning how to drive, we were on Route 18, and he made me pull over because I wasn’t driving fast enough for him. He always had Jeeps, I drive one now, it makes me feel connected to him. My dad was a jokester, he really never grew up. We used to have sock fights in our house — he would take out all the socks and let my brother and me run around hitting each other with socks. And the game wasn’t over until someone cried. My dad was always funny and present. I feel like he’s still here sometimes, messing with me. So much of my kids’ joy and the way they act … it’s just like what my dad would have been doing.
What do you wish other people understood a little better about your family’s experience?
I think I just want people to know that it’s still with us, the loss doesn’t go away, the grief doesn’t go away. The fact that my grief is public doesn’t mean it hurts less. That the littlest things can be a trigger. And that what happened on September 11th is responsible for so many unprecedented things that happened afterwards. I want this to be considered. The day changed everything. I just don’t want it to be forgotten.
By 9/11 Memorial staff