In her new book, Where You Left Me, Jennifer Gardner Trulson reveals how she found love again after tragedy struck

Take a moment of silence today for those that died on 9/11 and be glad that one woman, at least, was able to rebuild her life after she lost her one true love. This is her story.

“I was married to Doug, the love of my life, I lived in Manhattan, I was a lawyer, my husband worked on Wall Street; we were living the lives that cliches were made of. It was happy, it was exciting. Even though we had only had been married about seven years, we were still romancing and courting, reveling in each other and just thankful for the life we were given. All of his came to a crashing halt on September 11th when my husband was killed in the World Trade Center.

“My husband worked for Cantor Fitzgerald. He was on the 105th floor of the North Tower. Even after he died, I said to myself, ‘Jen, you’re lucky. You had the love of your life. Doug adored you.’ I said during his funeral that he loved me for a lifetime, and that would be enough.

“I really believed that I would be able to raise two children — my son was four and my daughter was two. I would raise them in New York surrounded by supportive friends and family and resign myself to being a widowed, single mother for the rest of my life. Of course, we all know that cliche, ‘If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.’”

“Ten months after 9/11 when I was in this routine of being the third wheel at my friends’ dinner tables and getting through life by pasting a smile on my face and hoping my insides would catch up with my outsides, I found myself at a restaurant with my friends. Out of the blue, a very handsome perennial bachelor from Seattle steps on my foot, and my life turns on a dime.

“His name was Derek and he had just moved to New York; he had been living in the city for six months. We embarked on a very precarious courtship.”

“The book traces this courtship: his meeting our friends, getting to know our kids, my denying we were even in a relationship and slowly but surely how he became my husband and adopted my children.

“I hope that readers will recognize that I am them. That I was an ordinary woman who was happily married and this horrible thing happened to me — and if I can do it, anyone can. I can’t emphasize enough how many times i said to Doug, ‘Nothing better ever happen to you, I can’t live without you’ — and yet here I am.

“It is possible to live a fully present life, yet carry your past with you. You don’t have to choose. You can somehow live between the lines and joy will find you.

– Jennifer Garner Trulson, Where You Left Me

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