The September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center took their single greatest toll on the financial-services firm Cantor Fitzgerald, which lost more than 600 employees. Jennifer Gardner’s husband Doug was a senior executive at Cantor, and was on the 105th floor of the WTC when the planes hit. In a few hours on one late-summer morning, the world changed for everyone, but it changed for hundreds of families in a very specific way.
Abruptly widowed at thirty-five and left with two small children, Gardner realized that she was more fortunate than many. A former attorney who had left work once her children were born, she had financial security and a strong support network of family and friends, including fellow “Cantor wives” who were capable of intimately understanding her grief because of their own. Gardner was determined to protect her children’s emotional health and ensure that they would remember their father; her devotion to her own emotional health wasn’t always as strong. She continued to see herself as Doug’s wife, and couldn’t imagine that there would ever be anyone else in her life...even after she realized that there actually was.
First-time author Gardner Trulson tells her own story in straightforward language, with honesty, self-awareness, and a remarkable amount of humor (considering her subject). Emotional without being maudlin and inspiring without being “inspirational,” Where You Left Me is an intimate story of real lives in the post-9/11 world, shared as our country observes that tragedy’s tenth anniversary.