A 9/11 widow recounts how she grieved for her husband yet eventually found love again.
“Time heals all wounds. Boy did I despise that cliché,” writes debut memoirist Trulson about the process of learning to accept her husband’s death and honor his memory while embarking on an unexpected romantic relationship. Doug Gardner, an executive broker, devoted husband and father of two, was one of the 658 Cantor Fitzgerald employees killed in the Twin Towers, an incident that his wife reconstructs with painful acuity. In an instant, her life of family outings, charity events and emotional stability fell away, leaving a barrage of funerals, media saturation and agonizing reminders of happier times. Trulson excels at portraying both her own despair over Doug’s sudden death and her frustration with how quickly and callously American politicians and news outlets capitalized on the tragedy for their own gains. Her sojourn in “Widowville” threatened to reduce her to a political bargaining chip and Manhattan conversation piece, roles that she has refused to embrace. Ironically, the narrative loses momentum when she begins dating Derek Trulson (now her husband), after asserting to friends and family that she would never remarry. The author does get some mileage out of contrasting her metropolitan Jewish background against her second husband’s rugged Pacific Northwestern upbringing, but a little of this banter goes a long way. While no reader would begrudge her another chance at love, the second half of the book lapses into platitudes about domestic bliss and perfect new in-laws, passages that become grating, especially after the grim humor and sharp observations of the first half of the book.
Uneven, but in its stronger moments, the book provides trenchant insights into one woman’s resilience and makes a respectable entry in the burgeoning field of 9/11 widow memoirs.