Ellen Judd, who lost her partner Christine Egan, agreed.
“It's something that's never completed,” she said of processing a loss. “She's still present. I think she was a very good person and it's a good thing to have her still present in our lives.”
Ms. Egan was visiting her brother in the World Trade Center when the planes hit. Both were killed.
“It's a huge loss,” said Ms. Judd. “She lost the rest of her life and we lost everything she was giving to people around her.”
Hans Gerhardt, who lost his son Ralph, also continues to deal with the grief.
The 34-year-old younger Gerhardt was on the 105th floor of the north tower and called his parents after the first plane hit. He told them he was OK, that he loved them and that he'd call later. That call never came; his remains were never found.
“It's still hurting, there's no question about it. And you will not forget,” said Mr. Gerhardt, a retired hotelier who lives in Toronto. “You're constantly reminded.”
Those reminders aren't always memorials or media reports. They're also having his son's old furniture in his office, an old birthday message as the screen saver on his computer, the empty chair on holidays.
Mr. Gerhardt took to writing to make sense of the immense grief that engulfed him. The entries which began in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 turned into a memoir dedicated to his son which was published nine years later titled “Hotel Biz.”
“The pain was so big so you wanted to express it,” said the 69-year-old, adding that the look back on his life renewed his appreciation of the time he had with his son.
“You try to look at your glass half full, instead being depressed and saying its half empty,” he said. “At least you had 34 years.”
Kimmy Chedel also tries to think positive.
The 47-year-old Quebec native lost her husband in the attacks when her children were just one and two years old. Frank Joseph Doyle was on the 89th floor of the World Trade Center when the attacks took place. Ms. Chedel often recalls the last conversation they had.
“He said, ‘You have to promise me every day for the rest of their lives you'll tell Zoe and Garrett how much I love them,' and I didn't realize that he was saying goodbye, he was just so brave and so strong,” said Ms. Chedel. “The event still feels very raw in my mind.”
Life for Ms. Chedel and her children now goes on as normal, but the anniversary is always hard.
“The good part of Sept. 11 is that no one will ever forget how everyone died, so you've got tons of love and support,” she said. “But at the same time, the day is so horrific that it's excruciatingly painful.”
Ms. Chedel, who was living in New Jersey, moved back to Canada after 9/11. She then formed “Team Frank” in her husband's memory, made up of friends and family — including her two kids — who gather annually to run in a New Jersey road race and a Quebec triathlon Mr. Doyle took part in before his death. The team has since expanded to over 150 people, with members participating in numerous events worldwide.
“The idea was...if anyone had a Frank moment or a Frank inspiration to send us a picture to let the kids know they haven't forgotten Frank,” she said.
Ultimately, the focus on her children and keeping their lives positive keeps Ms. Chedel constantly moving forward.
“My goal, year after year, was just focus on the positive,” she said. “I kept telling the kids, ‘Daddy would want us to keep on living.“’
Canadians killed in the Sept. 11 attacks:
Michael Arczynski — The 45-year-old sports enthusiast from Vancouver was a senior vice-president of Aon Corp.’s Manhattan office. He and his wife, Lori, who was raised in Montreal, had three children after their marriage in 1990. Lori gave birth to a fourth child, named for his late father, after the attack. Mr. Arczynski, who loved to ski near Vancouver and spent a lot of time with family in Vermont, also left behind three daughters from his first marriage.
Garnet (Ace) Bailey — The 53-year-old director of pro scouting for the National Hockey League's Los Angeles Kings was a native of Lloydminster, Sask. He was aboard United Airlines Flight 175 when it crashed into the World Trade Center's south tower. He was a veteran of 11 NHL seasons as a player with the Boston Bruins, the Detroit Red Wings, the St. Louis Blues and the Washington Capitals. He moved to the World Hockey Association for the 1978-79 season and joined the Edmonton Oilers where he was a linemate of teenage phenomenon Wayne Gretzky. Mr. Bailey ended his playing career in 1980 after he accumulated seven Stanley Cup rings and turned to coaching. He is survived by his wife, Katherine, and son, Todd. Katherine has started the Ace Bailey Children's Fund, which supports play centres and programs at the Tufts New England Medical Center in Boston.