A woman’s faith inspires her to help start a support group for grieving families of 9/11 victims in this debut memoir.
After experiencing the sudden losses of her father and sister in 1976 and 1978, Koch was overwhelmed by sorrow and heartache. She went on to endure intense health challenges of her own, including a cancer diagnosis and multiple surgeries. But through it all, her family’s support was unwavering. It quickly becomes clear to readers that Koch also drew strength from another source: her faith in God. During good times and bad, her religion helped her find the will to go on, which is part of the reason why, after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, she felt a powerful calling to help the victims’ surviving family members: “I had great confidence that the Spirit would guide me to walk alongside the families of 9/11.” Koch helped to organize the Saint James 9/11 Bereavement Support Group, in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, which quickly filled to capacity, and she drew on years of experience as a grief counselor to guide families through their darkest moments. Koch leaves out few details as she walks readers through her organizational strategies for the group, and the book’s diarylike format provides readers with a sense of progression through the healing process. There are also multiple references to Koch’s faith, including numerous biblical quotations. The author offers detailed and engaging insights into the psychology of mourning, as well. However, the real proof of the group’s transformative power comes at the end, in the form of personal testimonies by the members themselves. This is the most poignant section of the book, and certainly the most captivating, as people from all walks of life write candidly about their experiences of 9/11, and explain how Koch’s support group improved their lives during its two years of operation.
A heartfelt, emotionally stirring book about the resilience of the human spirit.