Love stories of 9/11 show resilience in the face of grief

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Love Stories Of 9/11 Show Resilience In The Face Of Grief

When almost 3,000 people were killed in the terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, each of them left behind loved ones. But for those who lost a spouse or significant other, many tried to turn their grief toward something positive.

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Jennifer Gardner Trulson's husband, Doug Gardner, was killed in the attacks. She wrote down her memories of him so her two young children could remember their dad.

"After Doug died, my first panicked thought was, 'How am I going to give him to the kids? How are they going to know their father when they're old enough to ask?'" Gardner Trulson said.

But she soon realized the memories could come together in a book. "Where You Left Me" follows Gardner Trulson's journey from grief to being able to love again.

Some who lost loved ones became advocates for policy changes after the tragedy.

See photos of people rallying together during and after the attacks:
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9/11/2001: People coming together
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Love stories of 9/11 show resilience in the face of grief
UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 11: Hijacked planes crash into the World Trade Center In New York, United States On September 11, 2001-Hijacked planes crash into the World Trade Center towers destroying both of them. (Photo by Michel SETBOUN/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 11: (FRANCE OUT) Lower Manhattan and the World Trade Center after attack by terrorist hijacked airliners, which destroyed the Twin Towers and killed more than 3000 people in New York, United States on September 11, 2001(Photo by Alan CHIN/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 11: Firefighter covered with ash after World Trade Center collapsed in terrorist attack. (Photo by Thomas Monaster/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
Deputy U.S. marshal Dominic Guadagnoli helps a women after she was injured in the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York, Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001. (AP Photo/Gulnara Samoilova)
UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 11: New York Daily News staff photographer David Handschuh is carried from site after his leg was shattered by falling debris while photographing the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. , (Photo by Todd Maisel/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
NEW YORK CITY - SEPTEMBER 11: People run from lower Manhattan after the World Trade Center was hit by planes in a terrorist attack on September 11, 2001 in New York City. (Photo by David Handschuh/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
394261 33: ( NEWSWEEK, US NEWS, GERMANY OUT) Police escort a civilian from the scene of the collapse of a tower of the World Trade Center September 11, 2001 in New York City after two airplanes slammed into the twin towers in an alleged terrorist attack. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
People volunteer to help on Sept. 15, 2001 after the September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City.(AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
In this September 15, 2001 photograph, volunteers line up to help after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center.(AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
A boy and his family carry flags on Sept. 15, 2001 after the September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City(AP Photo/Charlie Krupa)
In this Sept. 15, 2001 photograph, two firemen hug after the September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City.(AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
In this Sept. 14, 2001 photograph, a garbage worker passes by a memorial at a construction site in Times Square in New York City after the September 11 terrorist attacks.(AP Photo/Amy Sancetta)
In this September 14, 2001 photograph, a man comforts a woman in front of missing person posters after the September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City.(AP Photo/David Karp)
Two ground zero emergency workers hug on Sept. 13, 2001 after the September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City.(AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson)
Volunteer Carly Levy, right, hands out cookies she bought herself and water to people waiting in line for hours to donate blood at a temporary center set-up in the Brooklyn borough of New York, Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2001. New Yorkers turned out in droves in the wake of the World Trade tower attacks. Levy planned to give blood, but decided to volunteer helping out those already in line when she learned the wait would be five to six hours. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Frances Hale donates blood in the foreground as a packed room full of donors await their turns at the Red Cross donation center in Louisville, Ky., Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001. Hale said, "I just needed to do something to help, and this was the only thing I could think of to do." Hundreds of people flocked to donation centers in the wake of the terrorist attacks. (AP Photo/Ed Reinke)
Aurora Norton, center, clutches a U.S. flag as she prays at San Fernando Cathedral in San Antonio during a special noon Mass Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001, after attacks at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Norton said her niece works at the Pentagon. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Hundreds of Queens residents hold up candles during a prayer vigil for the missing firefighters from Rescue 4 and Engine Co. 292 along Queens Boulevard in the Queens borough of New York Monday, Sept. 17, 2001. Nine men are missing from the two companies after the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. (AP Photo/Daniel P. Derella)
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Beverly Eckert lost her husband, Sean Rooney, in the World Trade Center collapse. In a piece for StoryCorps, she remembered their last phone call.

"We stopped talking about escape routes, and then we just began talking about all of the happiness we shared during our lives together," Eckert said.

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She went on to be a spokesperson for victims' families, lobbying for changes, including transparency in the investigations following the attacks and improvements to building codes. Eckert died in 2009 in a plane crash near Buffalo, New York. She was 57.

Although many lost loved ones, at least one connection was formed because of 9/11.
On the day of the attacks, flights were barred from entering the United States, and many were sent to Gander, Newfoundland. There, two passengers met and fell in love.

"Everybody showed us love, friendship, hospitality, compassion, giving, it was unbelievable," Diane Marson said.

"Meanwhile, you two are just walking around flirting," said actress Sharon Wheatley, who played Diane in a musical about the Marsons' story. Nick and Diane Marson were married almost exactly a year later and even returned to Gander for the 10-year anniversary of 9/11 in 2011.


See more special coverage of the 14th anniversary of 9/11:
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