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Kathy says the news headlines and tabloid reports don't tell the full story of her grief. First, she sets the record straight on the source of her spending money. "I didn't use any of [the money donated to relief funds]," she explains. "None of that money was used towards my shopping. … All the money people sent to me went to my children. It's in the bank for my children."

Instead, the money she did spend on herself was from the Victims' Compensation Fund, monies that victims of September 11 received based upon, among other things, how much the deceased would have made over a lifetime. "The victims' compensation money was used—my husband's money—was used for that," she says. In accepting the money from the fund, Kathy was required to waive her right to sue the government or the airlines.

She admits that her shopping has not filled the emotional void left by her husband's death. "I want my husband—I don't want material things," Kathy says. "I don't even go out. I wear sweatpants every day." On using shopping to cope, Kathy says, "I didn't handle myself in the perfect way, no. I do have regrets."

Still battling depression, Kathy says she is in "a place where I want to move on." She also feels that more needs to be done to remember the lives lost on 9/11. "There are 3,000 families, and all we're asking for is a memorial down [at ground zero]," she says. "And we're not getting it. So the pain can't go away for me."
FROM: 9/11 Widow Stuck in Her Grief
Published on October 24, 2005