D is for Dave


Dear Dave:

We would have been married twenty years today. Can you believe it ? I’ve been mad at you a few times this last year having to shoulder the teen angst of our son alone.  I have had rebelliontimes two from Aidan ever since he hit double digits.I know its not your fault but sometimes I think your sheer physique would intimidate Aidan a lot more than my shrieking.  Not to mention I have to look up at him to do it.

It hasn’t been easy.

Speaking of which, I don’t know how much power you have up there, but maybe you can get Aidan to do better in school this year? He is so smart, but just can’t seem to motivate the way he needs to. This could be in part to you leaving us on his second day of Kindergarten.  Either way, I don’t think I can sit through another parent teacher conference where they tell me his work effort doesn’t match his intelligence.  He has to buckle down to get into college and I am taking him on all the tours without you but that’s because I want him to have the wonderful experience we had.

Remember the snowball fight in front of Lodge B?  Remember how everyone was looking for us and we hid in  the storage closet and kissed? I am so nostalgic sometimes I think they should just smear Vaseline on my brain.

Three days ago was Aidan’s first day of Senior year. I drove him to the ferry and as he walked away, he turned back and waved, his giant square hand moving in a way that was so like you, it caught my breath.  He is so handsome, Dave. Like you.  At least that’s what my friends tell me.  I am not objective when it comes to him. It is my failing as his mom.

I’m sure you noticed me crying in the car after he walked away. (Why is that always the best place to do that?) I was crying for you and because it was his last first day of school.  I’m sure you noticed he had a suitcase too.  His Senior class is hiking in the Smokey Mountains for the first week of school? Isn’t that strange?   It will be my first 9-11 without him.  The one thing I have learned from these last twelve years is that life sometimes just feels like a series of goodbyes and letting gos.

I often wonder what it would have been like had you lived.  Thirty years and counting. Would we still be in love or like so many couples I know, just co-existing like two pets in a cage.  I’d like to think we would sustain what we had, that we would still have our running jokes and you would keep pinching my ass when I walked by,or maybe it’s just my Vaseline brain talking again.

I am sure you have noticed that I have fallen in love with someone else.  I hope you’re okay with it.  It took me ten years to allow myself to open my heart fully to someone else. I’m sure you would have wanted that for me, right?  He is wonderful and smart and so tall I have to stand on my tippy-toes to kiss him.  You would like that he is 100% Irish! Who would have thought? He is sincere and kind and insecure in the most endearing way, the way you were. I am grateful to have someone to hold my hand through this day.  It is not easy for me or for him for that matter and it makes me love him even more that he can let me have this day to remember you.

But  as you know, I always think about you.  They say memories fade, soften and crack like old photographs, but it’s not true.  Mine are as clear as sky that day.  DAMN that sky.   That too blue sky that marked the beginning of your favorite season and the end of our life together.

What’s strange is that the things   I remember are not the moments you would
imagine. They are not of our wedding day or Aidan’s birth or your graduation from the Fire Academy.  They are small moments: the way your arm draped over me when you slept, the sound of your bare feet on the wood floor of our apartment, the dry rasp of your laugh.  I am surprised that a sound, a smell and a gesture can be remembered so much more than days spent.
But I also remember fragments of things. Poignant short film reels: exchanging gifts on Jones Beach on a cold Christmas morning, pulling Aidan in the old Radio Flyer to a picnic in Prospect Park, Long Pond in Cape Cod with Aidan on your shoulders, Chinese food in the living room on Sunday nights.

I want to remember more, but things have begun to fade, like a dream you try to piece together upon waking.  Maybe this is how our hearts heal themselves.

And I am healing.  I have large swaths of happiness. Two weeks ago, Bernard and I were in the Adirondacks lying in a big wooden bed, the kind you wanted to make, remember?  He had his arm around me and the smell of pine seeping through the window made me feel like I have finally returned to myself after all these years.

But by the time I was driving home on the Taconic, the anxiety of this day began, like a low grade fever. Small things like a glass slipping from my hand set me off on a crying jag that I hadn’t had since, well, last years anniversary.  And that dream I had on Saturday night. That one with the tornado and that rainbow as bright as the one’s we drew with crayons. That was amazing. Especially when you appeared.  Your face taking up the whole screen of my dream.   Your whole square jawed, dimpled face was so close, I could count the pores on your nose.

When I woke up, I had to lie in bed for over an hour to shake the sadness it left behind. Bernard brought me coffee in bed and let me tell him the dream from beginning to end.   We tried to decipher what it meant.  No matter what it meant, I was grateful to have had the dream then to never had had it at all.

Thank you.


Happy 20th Anniversary.




122 thoughts on “D is for Dave

    1. kay erstad

      Your book broke my heart. I am so glad to hear you have found love again.. I was hoping you would write a sequel. My thought’s and prayers are with you and your family..

      1. Marian Fontana Post author

        Thanks for reading the book Kay. I wrote a sequel but it was unceremoniously cancelled. Thanks for your support! xo

      2. Gretchen

        I too thought your book was beautifully written. I also was hoping for a follow up and am sad to hear it was cancelled. I own A Widow’s Walk and have read it numerous times. I am happy to hear you have found love again and that you and Aidan are doing well. Thank you for writing such a wonderful book. Every 9/11 I always think of Dave’s (and all the rescue workers) bravery and pray that you and Aidan continue to find peace and happiness.

        1. Marian Fontana Post author


          Thank you so much for reading my book! I’ll keep you posted if anything changes. Thanks for all your thoughts too!

  1. Jan Bzik

    Speechless. Many tears. Marian-your words are beautiful and poignant. You tell the truth-the whole way. Not some white-washed version. If therapists would adopt this approach I think we’d be a whole lot better off. Memories don’t fade and soften. They can come back clearer then when they first happened. And they hurt. And they feel good. And they hurt. I will probably never be able to look directly in your eyes and tell you what your long distance friendship has meant to me and how deeply I love you; but…..I think and hope you know that. That it helps a tiny bit, that it sustains you a tiny bit, that you understand a tiny bit because it does all that for me and more.

    1. Carolyn J. Vogel

      I am in tears, but you are a strong woman. I give you a lot of my love & respect for how you can tell this story. Good luck in the future & God Bless you & your family.

  2. alysson devito

    marion you have a way with words – a beautiful letter – and as I sit here crying with that same blue sky out my window it seems like a lifetime ago and like yesterday at the
    same time.

  3. Amy

    What a beautiful blog. Thank you so much for sharing these memories. I moved to New York City for college shortly after 9/11 and always felt a residual melancholy for those who lost their lives. You are so brave. May our Father in heaven hold you in His good arms and remind you of His great love for you- Marian- during this time.

  4. Denise

    Dearest Marian, As always your words touched my heart and my tear-ducts! You make me smile when you talk of sweet, beautiful Aiden — the living proof of a love that was a once in a lifetime! How blessed you are to have that kid! I’ve loved him from the first time I met him — you “done good” with him Marian! He’s growing into a gentle man — kind and loving (kind of the way you always describe Dave). How wonderful that you have found love again — may it last til you’re old and grey! Your dream was definitely an affirmation from Dave that he wants you to be happy and that he will always be with you and Aiden. May you be able to feel the love that all of us who love you so deeply are sending your way today. You’re the best! Love ya, Denise

  5. Margaret

    Marian – we’ve met several times through Robert and Lorie — have the occasional facebook interchange — I’ve enjoyed your company and conversation when we’ve met — and love your funny and poignant musings about mothering an adolescent. But — I didn’t know this about you. And your great bravery in writing this — and sharing it — allows me to have a bigger heart. Many blessings to you on finding love — and on holding this first love — we always have room for more love in this world and clearly you’ve gone the route of expansion and not contraction. Thank you.

  6. Welker

    Marian- what a privilege to read this beautiful letter to Dave. I can feel the longing in every word, but also your optimism for your own future and the light that you feel on your face. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Madeline Hastings


    We have never met, but still sending you lots of love and feel immense gratitude for your healing and being able to fall in love again. Maybe, the rainbow and Dave’s big smile is old love connecting to new love. Enduring love..

  8. virginia funiciello

    oh Marian God Bless you yes I.m sure David is watching over you and I know the feeling of being angry because Joanne” father is not here to share the family. I too met someone wonderful 15 years later and he was good and understanding and also kind to keep the menory of John alive. Aiden will be everything you hope for just give it time and patient love Joannes mom

  9. Marsha Murphy

    WOW Marian, as I sit at my desk on this 9-11 once again in tears as I read this wonderful letter, I am thnking of you and Aidan and Dave and your lives adn how this has all changed so many people. I am in tears as I read this. I wish Of could of met this wonderful man and I hope still to someday meet you and Aidan. Whether you know it or not you have imopacted my life in a big way and I am thankful to you for that. I do feel I think more about others becasue of this horrific event in our history. I try not to take even one day for granted. Thank you for sharing your life with me and your wonderful husband and father an friend Fireman David Fontana. You are all in my thoughts and prayers today and I believe that yes in every rainbow you see and every butterfly that flys- he is watchng over you and smiling adn saying good job my lovely wife and wonderful mother – Thank you for what you have done. Also he is saying “I love you with all my heart and I am blessed you have been able to meet a new freind that you care about adn that cares for you”

    Thansk you Marian – your Minnesota friend,

  10. Kathy Hussey

    This is incredibly moving – particularly since my husband and I are celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary today. I’m so sorry for your loss, and also happy for you that you have found love again. – Kathy Hussey, Nashville, TN

  11. Debra P.

    Dear Marian…your words touched a spot in my soul differently this year as I mourn the 5 month anniversary of my husband Mike. I too thought it was too soon…I’m sure we would have had many more years to come. I’m sure your son will realize soon that his school work is important for future college days. Holding you and your son close in my heart as you celebrate another anniversary without your soul mate and Dad by your sides. Prayers and thoughts being sent your way.

  12. John Pregil

    Aloha Marian,

    John from Honolulu Fire Dept. writing to wish you all the love and happiness on this day. God bless you and Aiden. I’ll make sure to catch a wave for Dave. I’ll try to make it a tube ride 🙂 Aloha Pumehana, John

  13. Jean

    Wow..so beautifully written. I too lost my spouse, not on 9/11, but still a tragic loss to me and so I can really relate to your words and the feelings you have as you move forward without him. I admire you and wish you peace on this horrible day.

  14. Ellen

    Marian, the greatest thing I remember when I am sad about Dave is that he was Happy! Very, very happy.He enjoyed every day.How many people are really truly happy? He was, and you are a part of the reason he was so happy. Xoxo Ellen

  15. Veronica

    Wonderful words you have written. I want you to know that i think of you every 9/11 and your Memoir A WIDOW’S WALK is my FAVORITE BOOK of all time. Everytime someones asks me which is my favorite book i always say yours. I read 4+ books a week. I love to read so i hope to get to read your other book soon. Just wanted to let you know you are in my thoughts and Prayers. God bless you and your Family.

  16. Darrell W. Gunter

    You don’t know me but I am a former colleague of Anna Saar at Elsevier. She shared your message on Facebook. Many times I don’t click on the link but for some reason I was intrigued by the few lines that I read on the posting.

    Thank you for sharing your story of triumph over tragedy. I will pray for you and all those who lost a loved one on 911. God bless you.


    Darrell W. Gunter

  17. robert

    I read your “Widows Walk” today in class and I had to search you up. I am so glad i found this site to read your blogs now. You are an amazingly strong woman and I congratulate you on that. It takes a strong woman to not only keep it together for your son, but to also write about your 9/11 experience. I hope you get through this day smoothly because I cant even imagine what you must be going through. What matters is having faith in God knowing that he will take care of you and that there will be a reunion with Dave in the afterlife. I am also glad you have found the strength to find a boyfriend, because that must not be a easy thing, especially when it seems like Dave is always on your mind. I am sure he would approve; a person like that would only want the best for you. I hope everything goes well with your son. Dont forget to keep writing! -Your new fan 🙂

  18. Kim

    beautiful, Marian… made me cry, & reminded me again of why I think you are so amazing. And Aidan. And Dave, who thanks to your eloquent writings many more of us have gotten to “know” just a little bit, even while he is not here with us. Sending so much love to you & Aidan (& Bernard — he sounds wonderful).

  19. merri

    T is for tender. The hour in bed chasing down meaning in the close up. His face, that beautiful face like in so many photographs…

    nothing on the other side.Lie still. Don’t turn it over. Don’t move, he lives inside of you and makes himself know to you again and again.

    Sometimes I think the living cry for the hole left by the dead. Sometimes I think on IX XI your heart cries Dave’s tears, you lend him your body for the day.

    He misses you.

  20. Marnie

    Hi Marian. A handful of years back I read your memoir and it powerfully affected me. So I found myself thinking of you and Aidan and Dave today. The passage of time is so hard to measure without a growing child for reference or I suppose a deepening marriage. I can’t believe your son is 17. Your words are so beautiful and so evocative and make me think deeply about my own life and the things I want to achieve. I am glad I googled you today to see how you are doing. I am glad you have found happiness, and that we are all gifted with your words and your perspective.

  21. Simon

    Dear Marian: Every year Dave’s name comes up in conversation and I, proudly, say that I knew him and we were good friends. I remember the 1st time he brought you to the firehouse at 122 and shaking hands with you. (Me thinking: wow, how cool is she….my whole view of Dave changed instantly). I think of how many times we bumped in to each other on 7th avenue with Dave carrying Aidan and always smiling. We shared the same desire to branch out in the Fire Department and try something new. He encouraged me to do it and was happy that we both moved on to where we wanted to. All of us who knew him also know that he would have demanded happiness for you, yearned for you not to be alone or unhappy. Thank you for sharing him with us and thank you mostly for sharing your memories of him. I have so many, I will gladly share with you if you ever want to hear them. Love to you and Aidan. Savor every ‘tip-toe’ kiss.


  22. Karen MacNeil Hartmann

    Dear Marian,

    Thank you so much for sharing D is for Dave with your friends. I once called you my grief guru but maybe now you’ve become my healing guru. I always think of you and Aiden on Sept 11th. We share the date as the the worst day of our lives but it was also your wedding anniversary so it was, at one time, one of your best days too.
    I hope that my Adam becomes the kind of teenager Aiden is because you’ve shared (with humour) how wonderful and ‘normal’ he is and yes, he is so handsome.
    Today, I have a grief hangover. Actually grateful that there is hammering going on at a neighbour’s because it will stop me from going back to bed. Yesterday Adam and I went to the cemetery with 3 roses to lay on Ulrich’s grave. One for Adam, Samantha and myself. Adam was 4 when Ulrich was killed (like Aiden was when Dave died). He cried saying he hardly knew his dad. That’s the saddest part. They don’t remember him and he was so incredibly loving and there for them. At the grave we held each other and let the tears rip. It clouded over and a gentle rain joined us. Later, in the evening, Adam’s soccer team won the semi-final game and I hoped Ulrich was watching Adam play from his vantage point. Samantha has never been back to the cemetery since the day Ulrich was buried.
    I share many of the very personal thoughts and feelings that you wrote about you and Dave. I wonder if we still would have been as loving and dedicated to each other. If I would listened to his stories with as much attention. If we would still wash each others back in the shower…
    I’m encouraged that you’ve found someone to share your life with and I am really so happy that you have come back to being you. I hope too to have someone in my life again and you’ve given me hope that it may happen someday. For me it has been 2556 days without Ulrich (or 7 years, 1 day). Each is a challenge, lots have been so sad, many are wonderful.
    I’m sending you and Aiden our love and hope that you have many more great days than bad ones.

    1. Marian Fontana Post author

      Wow. Thank you Karen. That means a lot. Sorry it took me so long to reply! I think of you often too and am happy to be your grief guru.

  23. K B Parnell

    Oh My. Clicked on the post on FB. But…wow…so glad that I did. I will never know you, never even begin to understand the depth of your emotions, but…thank you…first for writing it, then for sharing it. It is beautiful, beyond beautiful. I cry all day every September 11th, even though I didn’t personally know any of the fallen heroes. Thanks for opening your heart and showing us that life, for better or worse, does go on. Your letter is inspirational. Truly. What a tribute to you, your husband, your new love, and your son. You have made the world a better place with your words…. Thanks again, and I wish you peace and happiness.

  24. Laura Horowitz

    Marian, I am sobbbbbbbbing as I read your words FULLY knowing your angst with Aidan. My son was valedictorian of his middle school graduation, but evvvveryday of HS was a never-ending battle :(. well he graduated in June 2013 , has a great job ( soliciting for the burn center) and is an all around AWESOME kid.
    You truly need to give yourself a break when you feel this anger against yourself, because you did an AWESOME job raising him alone.
    Your teen moments that you post make me laugh ,but I am also able to tell you he is awesome!!! I was extremely happy to have had the oppurtunity to meet Bernard @ the Johnny Mac Golf outting. You truly looked happy & made me so proud when you shouted out to me about my volunteer work.
    I can not imagine the daily struggle that you go thru missing Dave, but I am grateful to have met you & been a part of watching your son grow,& I promise I will NEVER FORGET any of the widows, children or families of our cities heroes of 911. lots of love & soothing thoughts sent your way always Laura

  25. Melody clark

    I have been trying to figure out my dreams for years. They say the people in your dreams are a reflection of you. I disagree. My mother passed 7years ago next month. She visits me when I am having a tough time. She tells me it will be ok. Maybe your husband visits you because he knows you struggle with being happy with another and he is telling you it is OK ……………….live you life, love deeply, you will NEVER FORGET HIM AND HE KNOWS THAT but you need to be happy for you. It sounds like your new love totally understands which is wonderful. Good Luck with everything and remember THIS TO SHALL PASS.

  26. Karen in NC

    Somebody said I should check this out and I came here. I didn’t know where it was going at first. Then I put it together. “That day” was my son’s second day of kindergarten………and he just started senior year two weeks ago. My heart is heavy and light for you. Beautiful words, beautiful life. Not easy, but beautiful.

  27. Natalie

    Ms.Marian~Thank you for sharing your beautiful story. I’m sure that your son loves you so much! He is just trying to grow up…he misses his Dad more than you know.
    With you sharing your feelings and a new man in your life might make you look like you have moved on. Your son just hasn’t moved forward…Find something to do just the 2 of you…I took my Son bowling when things felt like we were not feeling to close. It worked! We laughed and teased each out how bad we were…finally we got better together!! Your a brave woman who has had her dream broken.
    Moving on is the only way.
    I admire you so much!

  28. sandy

    Marian, reading this has me in tears, I will never be able to fathom the pain you have gond through and will contime to have forever. I weep for you and Aiden as I type, and smile that you now have Bernard to help you live again. Thank you for sharing your pain and happiness with us all, I send you prayers and virtual hugs. I hope when Aiden is grown that he sees and understands how the years have been hard on you both, and appreciates that you still love his father, and will never try to replace him. Going forward is what we all want for our loved ones when we think if our time should come, I am sure Dave is watching over you both and smiling. May God Bless you, Aiden and Bernard (what a wonderful man he must be). May love fill your heart once again, Love, Sandy

  29. sallyknox

    thanks for a beautiful tribute to your husband and the love you had shared, its a gentle reminder for me as I battle my own life issues. Glad you found someone else to love in this lifetime, I am sure he would have wanted that. Blessings

  30. Barbara Place

    My 1st anniversary without Chip will be on Sept. 16. I’m not looking forward to it. We were married for 35 years last year and I wanted 35 more. Our kids are grown, so I don’t deal with that. Sometimes I think that it may be harder without kids to take my attention. Maybe one day I’ll be ready for someone else to love. We’ll see. So many emotions this past year. Sometimes I don’t think I can handle it anymore. I can so relate to the small things-a touch, a smell, a song. Sitting alone in church where he sat with me is hard. I never expected to be in this place. But I have amazing friends and family who are there on the bad days. They have helped. You’re not alone in this journey.

  31. Leslie

    Wow, what a letter. I am sure he appeared in your dream to let you know it is ok to live and love. Maybe your son needs to talk to someone. He definitely is angered about losing his dad and not moving on like you. Hope dad gets those puppet strings to work.
    God bless you, your son and your love in everything you do and wishing you a bright, exciting, and successful future. You are one strong lady.. Keep it up.

  32. Stacey l Kelly

    That was heart wrenching to read and I can only imagine how hard life has been for you. Glad that you found someone to share you life and your son’s life with.. That is God’s way of blessing you and trying to allow you to move on.. while never forgetting your first love:) Thanks for sharing…

  33. Gwen

    Marian, I was so touched by your writing. You have my sympathy in the loss of your precious husband, Dave, the much missed father of Aiden. I have often thanked God that I have always had my husband as we’ve raised our children. It’s the ‘taking turns’ of being up for the challenge of mouthiness, unending energy, companioning disappointments, rebelliousness, and apathy that eases the journey. Just when I have been ready to capitulate to an unwise leading of our progeny,my husband has gently talked me off the ledge. Sometimes when he was charmed into near submission to foolishness, I help break the spell with a whisper of truth. We had a couple of under achievers. Frustrating!! But In time, if he is given the freedom to reap what he sows, he will see the beauty of sowing well. Meanwhile, I would request that each teacher would greet him warmly, by name, as he enters their classroom. After that, he is free to reap his pile of fruit… or dust. God bless you and your husband, Asking God to give you wisdom as you discern how to love and bless your precious Aiden.

  34. Valerie Hughes

    Beautifully written. My heart goes out to you and all the families whose lives were changed that day. Peace.

    Valerie Hughes,
    Webster, KY

  35. Kim sonson

    Beautiful letter, thank you for sharing. It’s a reminder of how devastating 9-11 was and still is. God bless all of you.

  36. It Is What It Is

    I don’t know you, Marian, and I popped over her from a friend’s share on FB. I live in CA, far from the attacks on the World Trade Center that awful day, but know that I held you and all of the families that lost a loved one that day in consciousness yesterday. As a mom to two young boys, I wondered specifically about the mothers whose children were left fatherless and whether time has softened the grief. I lost my brother 36 years ago, when we were both children, and even now, even though I only had him in my life for 11 years, the grief bubbles up when a memory is accessed. I miss him and the great uncle he would have been to my boys.

    Thank you so much for sharing your love for your husband and for how your life has changed since he’s been gone. I hope your son brings you much joy and solace and that memories of your husband live on in the man he is becoming.

    Sending comforting thoughts up and out to you. May the sun shine on you and warm your heart like a kiss from your husband. And, may your new love, however new it is, fill your soul in a much deserved way.

  37. Clarizza Reyes

    God bless you and Aidan. I cannot imagine the strength you possess to raise a son without his father. I was especially touched by your thought that perhaps by Dave’s sheer size you would have more obedience. I have an eleven year old who questions and defies me but not his father. I hope you will always find a way to remember Dave and guide Aidan to become the man you both always wished him to become.

  38. Apurva

    Wow. I’m sitting all the way in India reading this right now while it pours outside. I just ended another relationship, but here’s the deal- I can’t even feel the pain. Maybe some part of me knew it wasn’t meant to be. A much bigger part of me KNOWS I can and will love someone in the future much more deeply, the way I want to. I just have to wait for that right person to come along. The purity and intensity of your unconditional love is inspiring, breath-taking and extremely magical. It takes a lot of strength to love like that. The fact that you can hold on and still find a way to let a new person in to be loved, it’s just so very strong. Thank you. For allowing me a glimpse at the love people can endure and give each other. For letting me know, that there is hope, and there is a reason that one should wait for the right person to come along. I will be praying for you to be strong and stay connected to your old and new love and for your son to do well academically.

  39. Pat

    heart talks and words, what great memories you have and always will. Bless you and your son and your new man. God Be will all of you.

  40. Kathy

    So moving… Thank you for sharing. I can’t believe it has been 12 years. I am so sorry for your loss.

    I live in Chicago, so have very few direct connections to people touched by 9/11. But my husband works in our city’s tallest building and I have vivid memories of the fear I felt that day until I knew he and other loved ones were safe and out of harms way.

    I love how you write about the memories of your husband. I totally get that, remembering things you wouldn’t think you would vs. some of the more obvious and bigger milestones. My husband and I lost our second child, soon after she was born (in April 2008), so I can appreciate much of what you say about grief and loss here.

    I am so glad to know you have found love again and believe that your husband is too. He sounds like an incredible man, as does your first husband and your son. Thank you again for giving us a window into your world. Also, I know its not the same, but I have an old friend who is losing her husband to cancer. Reading your words gives me hope for her and her sons’ future without him, if that is what is to be. My heart breaks for her now, but reading how far you have come in 12 years is inspiring.

  41. Valerie Silas

    I too lost my husband at a young age…We were only married 2 1/2 months….I know that pain all too well and the dreams too. It has been 36 years ago Nov 15th…deer hunting season in Michigan every year..the pain lightens put never goes away….memories are as clear as day still!

  42. Scott Blair

    I don’t know you or ever have heard of you before I read this. With tears streaming down my cheeks right now I feel somehow like I know you! Your story has touched my heart and it aches for you and your family. 4 years ago my brother was murdered and I think about him everyday but the way you explained how you remember Dave is kind of the way I remember my brother. You made it easier for me to be able to explain it to others (Thank You)!! It really sounds like you have found a wonderful man to bring you some happiness into this CRAZY thing we call Life! I truly would like to wish you the very BEST and Pray that you continue to find happiness with Bernard!! Thank You for sharing your thoughts as they were some of the best words I have ever read!! God Bless!!!

  43. Marian Jay

    Unbelievably beautiful, touching and reflective. Luckily you have found someone to comfort you. God bless you and may Dave’s memory be a blessing.

  44. elaine

    I too see that gorgeous Blue Sky that day…What you wrote is terrific ..you never failed in being a MOM or a Wife…..true we all move on but your story is amazing…with tears in my eyes i feel joy, pain, and love for you and your new family and esp your lovign son..Please you did a great job in never forgetting you first love…just remember he is with you all the time. I don’t really even know you but thanks for writing this so i will never forget …thanks again…..you are a good mom.

  45. Susan

    God bless. And thank you. It’s all anyone can say for the pain and sacrifice you have endured. May your future be filled with joy, my your son seek and find his dreams. And most of all, God bless.

  46. Maribeth


    What an amazing writer you are–I haven’t talked to you in years and never knew Dave–except I always felt I had through reading your book and now this. Thank you for this reminder of why we keep writing–it does keep people alive….

  47. Shirley Hornady

    Absolutely beautiful and amazing young woman, Thanks for sharing.
    There is happiness after a such a horrific events.. God truly is love

  48. Pete Bansen

    What a lovely letter – you write beautifully and that you’re willing to share these thoughts and moments with others is both heartbreaking and so generous. Dave was a lucky man and Aidan a lucky young man to have a wife and mother with your great heart. My anniversary is two days before 9/11 (it was our 24th) and each year I feel blessed and lucky – your blog post doubles that feeling for me, so thank you.

    God bless and keep you, Marian,

    Pete Bansen



  50. CynthiaS

    Amazing and so powerful – had me in tears quickly – then the realization of the loss. As you say – so good to have had it – even with the pain of losing it. So glad you shared with us and your son grew up knowing how much love there was. Congratulations on your new partner – he sounds amazing. Much love sent to you.

  51. Trasie Ademi

    Dear Marian,
    I am so touched by your words. I do not know you, but you are a strong amazing women! I am so glad that you have found love again!! I am sure your late husband would want you to be happy. From what you have said about both men, they seem like they are kind, gentle souls. May the years that pass find you happy, healthy, healed and more in love! God Bless you and your family! Trasie

  52. Wayne Tanis

    WOW! Love will prevail! My cousin Dave was supposed to be in WTC on 9-11 and his daughter messed up his alarm clock which made him late. Talk about an angel in disguise. God Bless.

  53. Lisa Weinstein

    Dear Marian, I so wish wish I could conjure up some remarkable words of comfort, but all that is flowing right now are tears. Thank you for sharing your heart with the rest of the world. Your husband will always live in the heart of your son. I wish you love, peace, and happiness.

  54. Nina Brosdahl

    Dear Sweet Marian. I know that pain of losing my son. Not on 911..but, in a very different violent way. I cannot imagine what it is like for the families of 911 attack on America..to see this over and over in news reels each year..when the entire world is watching. When I see the reels roll..I cringe..because I was watching Television the morning of the attack and I knew right away..what it was. I knew without having to wait for the second plane. My heart aches for you. I know that feeling that you get when you wonder what could have , would have, and should have been. It has been 33 years since my son was murdered and I still relive it each year on that date. I have had dreams like yours and I know they are gifts from God for us. I have had my son come to me in dreams a few times and I shall remember them till I leave this world. Every little detail of them. I have heard that when we remember every detail of every dream..it was truly our loved ones coming to us to reassure us. Your family picture of your hubby and your baby and yourself..is so beautiful. Your poignant story has touched my heart deeply. God Bless you and your son and may you always be able to remember your precious “Dave”, with such loving memories of him. Tu for sharing your story..God Bless you and you Son

  55. erin brewster

    this is beautiful. you will be thought of here in Atlanta. stay strong. remember, quite possibly there isn’t just one love in our lives…rather one at a time.

  56. Meryl

    Simple, simply beautiful, articulate, true. A great honor for Dave, he’d be proud and happy, and an honor to you and Aiden who had to go forth and endure. Dave is still deepest in your heart and soul. It’s the little things in life that are really the big ones…a smile, a sound, a touch. He would know and easily understand the person you are now. Perhaps you can a bit of comfort that Dave died a hero and thousands of people mourn him too. He was a hero at home and at work. Your tribute and love will last forever. Though I don’t know you, I will always remember your wonderful words and heart.

  57. Melissa

    Dear Marion,
    I have never read any of your blog until tonight. A friend of mine posted it on Facebook.
    It brought tears to my eyes. Your writing is so amazing, and pure about how you have felt.
    I’m glad you have found a loving person to be with.
    Bless you,

  58. Sue Haut

    May the new found love be the arms that wrap around you love you for life and protect you and your family. They have been sent to you, embrace and be thankful that you have someone who understands excepts and loves you. Good for you and good for him. Take a breath…….

  59. Fabienne

    Dear Marian,
    Beautifull words..indeed. I just want to wish you all the hapiness you deserve with your new love and to comfort you about your son…It’s the struggle of any mother of an handsome smart boy…They’re quite slow to find the motivation to study..but when they find it, Hell, it’s rock..
    Don’t worry he’ll be OK and he’ll study..
    Love from The Netherlands!

  60. kim harrington sokop

    thank you for sharing. beautiful and so real. speaks to so many in remembrance and respect for all those who were so dauntingly affected on and by 9/11. thank you.

  61. Lynne

    Dear Marian…I don’t know how your message came to me, but I treasure your words. I will treasure my son and my husband more, if that’s even possible. As I took in the details of your sweet family picture, of all things, I noticed the string of sunflower lights dangling in the background…the same ones I found in a thrift shop and saved to hang on our camper. They will always bring your words to mind now…I think I always knew there was more to those silly lights than decorating our campsite. God bless you, Aiden and Bernard on your journey…Lynne

  62. PoodlesRule

    Gulp. This is so beautiful and I’m crying for your pain that was so unnecessary. How different things could have been. Thanks for sharing.

  63. Lucille T. Whitham

    So beautifully written and with tears in my eyes thinking of you. I also am the wife of a retired fireman and that day will always be a remembrance in my heart. The lonely nights , holidays and weekends spent alone are a great sacrifice to the one you love. May you find the happiness you deserve in your future and your brave husband rest in peace. God will watch over you son.

  64. Terry

    A Facebook friend directed me to this post. I read your lovely book years ago, and I am so grateful to be able to catch up with you. Thank you for letting us in.

  65. Kathleen Smith


    So beautifully written. So heartfelt. Stop being so hard on yourself. You have raised a wonderful son as a single mom, which has to be one of the hardest jobs on earth. Aidan will be fine. We have all been through rocky and despairing periods of time with our children. The teen years are tough under normal circumstances. Throw in a lot of loss and it just makes things worse. I always think of you and Aidan and I am so glad that, while things didn’t work out for you in a previous relationship (wink, wink), it gave me an opportunity to get to know you both. I am so glad that you have found love again. You deserve it. As someone who has also suffered profound loss, I know how it’s the little things that get you. Always thinking of you and Aidan with love.


    1. Marian Fontana Post author

      Thank you Kathleen. Long overdue to write you back, but I am very moved by your words and will keep them close to my heart.

  66. Robyn Bellamy

    Well, I’m just getting to this, Marian, and I’m welling up like a child. A little late to the game. I love your words and your open heart. I think of you often especially on 9/11. So glad you are moving on. Of course, I’m not…I’m still in Lori’s exercise. Sheesh!
    Love you mucho,

    1. Marian Fontana Post author

      Robyn! I miss you and I miss Lorie’s class. Would love to see you soon and would love to hear how the kids are doing!?

  67. Marsha Murphy

    Wow Marian it is amazing to see how many people keep responding to you web page. I think that you have made an impact on so many lives. I hope your days are good and your son Aidan is growing up and you will soon be an empty nester. You should be so proud of yourself and the work you have done as a mom.You are an amazing woman and you have alot to share with others. Think of you often Marian.


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