The day Tom died, I lost more than a husband. I lost a family. From the moment I turned on CNN, the family I loved, enjoyed and belonged to began to fracture, as if the second the plane crashed it became more than tortured steel and shredded rubber.

Tom was from a large, German, Catholic family, where he was the baby of seven. There was quite an age difference between the oldest and the youngest. I’ve always believed Tom was the favorite, the golden child, because he was most like his father and was the last child his mother could ever have.

He loved his family, but they exasperated him. He was closest to his father and endured his mother. He once told me he loved his mother, but he didn’t like her. So, I shouldn’t have been surprised when they turned on me. There were signs over the years I didn’t measure up. When we got engaged at graduation, she was planning a celebratory family dinner. I wasn’t invited, until she found out we were engaged, and then she felt obligated.


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