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Love You, Mean It: A True Story of Love, Loss, and Friendship

Overview

At a time of great loss, nothing heals like the power of friendship.

Time heals all wounds, they say. But when your husband dies suddenly, on a glorious sunny day when all he did was go to work, it takes more than the passage of time to get you through. It takes the love and support of women who are exactly where you are—and when you're lucky enough to find them, you cling to each other until you're strong enough to stand on your own. The ...

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Overview

At a time of great loss, nothing heals like the power of friendship.

Time heals all wounds, they say. But when your husband dies suddenly, on a glorious sunny day when all he did was go to work, it takes more than the passage of time to get you through. It takes the love and support of women who are exactly where you are—and when you're lucky enough to find them, you cling to each other until you're strong enough to stand on your own. The truths you discover in the process are universal, compelling, and altogether inspiring.

That was the lesson learned by Pattie Carrington, Julia Collins, Claudia Gerbasi, and Ann Haynes, four thirty-something women whose husbands worked at the World Trade Center. Before September 11, 2001, they didn't know each other, but in the months following that horrible day they came together, drawn as much by their diverse backgrounds as their shared tragedy. At their very first meeting, the foursome realized their bond was too special to ignore, and in no time their Widows Club had cemented into a source of hope and, soon, love that saw them through their darkest hours, and forward. They took to signing off emails and phone conversations with a lighthearted phrase: Love You, Mean It. "Feeling this love for one another meant our hearts were beginning to open again. It was a risk—love brought with it the ever-present possibility of loss. But this was a risk worth taking. More than ever, we understood how important it was to put love at the center of our lives."

A celebration of friendship, optimism, and empathy, Love You, Mean It is a shared memoir of rebuilt lives. It will offer hope to anyone who has suffered a loss, and exhilarate readers from coast to coast.

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Editorial Reviews

USA Today
The book celebrates the lives and husbands they had before 9/11. It describes the pain and feelings of guilt, shares the awkwardness of dating again and ends with a shared belief that there's hope after grief.
People
A moving look at how life went on for four wives who lost husbands - and found each other - when the towers went down.
Publishers Weekly
Four young women widowed by the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center were so bereft, so inconsolable, that they ended up forming their own support group, the "Widows Club." True, they found sympathy everywhere-from in-laws, co-workers, friends, grief professionals-but even their dearest intimates couldn't offer the absolutely unconditional acceptance and understanding of a sister sufferer. Collins could weep and tell stories about Tommy for hours, days or years, and Haynes wouldn't find it tiresome. Gerbasi could tell Carrington she'd seen "signs" of Bart-a bird outside her window, a bedside light flickering-and Carrington would understand, because her Caz was also sending messages. None of these women were interested in being "the perfect September 11 widow," working on protest committees, testifying before Congress and organizing fund-raisers. They just wanted to get through a day without dissolving into tears. In interfolded accounts, they each discuss how they met their husbands, how they spent September 11 and all the many ways they grieved. In the end, they each found ways to open themselves to new love, careful to keep the "Boys" and the Widows Club ever dear. "Love you, mean it," they'd tell each other over and over-and readers will love them, too. Appearances on 20/20 and Good Morning America. (Sept.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
They started calling themselves the Widows' Club almost a year after losing their husbands in the World Trade Center attacks, a year in which the friendships these four women nurtured became the most important relationship in their lives, eventually superseding, though never replacing, the love they had shared with their spouses. Pattie Carrington, Julia Collins, and Ann Haynes, all brought together by Claudia Gerbasi, have supported and cared for one another through the waiting, the news that their husbands aren't coming back, the memorials, survivor guilt, and the seemingly endless moments of unrelenting loss. Together, they travel, mark heartbreaking anniversaries, and finally make it through to the other side of grief, where reignited lives with new loved ones await them. "How could anyone continue to exist after such experiences?" is a question posed by the multiple first-person point of view (which works well here in combination with each woman's own tale). In this achingly moving book, these women eloquently show us how. Recommended for all public libraries; expect demand, as the authors are booked to appear on 20/20 and Good Morning America. Elizabeth Brinkley, Seattle Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Four 9/11 widows' jointly written account of life after the Twin Towers fell. They didn't know each other five years ago, but following 9/11, Carrington, Collins, Gerbasi and Haynes formed the Widows' Club. Here they pay homage to their dead husbands, recounting the harrowing hours of Sept. 11 and describing the process of adjusting to life alone. Gerbasi's account of the actual day is especially heartrending; she vividly recreates the horrifying feeling of not knowing whether her beloved was dead or alive, of the slowly dawning realization that he might not come home. The four women became closer than sisters: They hung out all the time, took trips together-in fact, spent so much time with each other that their relatives began to get sick of hearing about their fellow widows. "This was a club that none of us wanted to be members of," they write, but the comfort of being with other women who completely understood their grief, their guilt and their fear was invaluable. In this communal recollection, they discuss the stresses of single parenting and the pressure to be the perfect 9/11 widow: "She protests. She appears in front of Congress. She organizes. We'd managed none of this." The dramas of beginning to date provide some comic relief, as do the lists of stupid, if well-intentioned, things people say. The most stunning gaffe came from a therapist who, 30 minutes into an intake interview, told Gerbasi that she needed to get on with her life. Sometimes one of the four women narrates in the first person, while at other points, the first-person-plural takes over, as in their final conclusion that "by writing all this down, we've been able to see in black and white just how far we've comeand how much we've helped one another." This shifting point-of-view can be disorienting, but the prose, both individual and collective, is surprisingly strong. Respectful and serious yet fun, moving but rarely maudlin.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781401309084
  • Publisher: Hyperion
  • Publication date: 1/15/2008
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 5.75 (w) x 8.75 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Claudia Gerbasi grew up in Manhasset, NY in the neighboring town to her future husband, Bart Ruggiere. She has lived in NYC since 1992. Claudia and Bart were married in March of 2000. Claudia is currently a sales director for Cole Haan and lives with her current husband, John Donovan, in downtown Manhattan. Her passions include travel, scuba, yoga, reading, being with friends and family, and doing the Sunday Times crossword. Julia Collins is from Chattanooga, TN where she grew up one of five children. She moved to NYC in the spring of 1997, where she met and later married Tom Collins in 2000. She is currently employed with the National Football League in their consumer products division and resides on the upper east side of Manhattan. A former college cheerleader, her past-times include fitness boxing, running, playing golf, water skiing and travel. Ann Haynes grew up in Watertown, NY. After college, she moved to New York City and began her career in the financial services industry. In 1989, while pregnant with her first child TJ, she moved to the suburb community of Rye, NY. Here she met and later married her husband Ward Haynes in 1994. Three years later they had twins Billy and Elizabeth. Ann recently stopped working in order to devote more time to her three children. Pattie Carrington grew up in Rhode Island and Pennsylvania. She moved to NYC after graduating college and married her Englishman husband, Jeremy "Caz" Carrington in September 2000. Today, she lives in Brooklyn Heights, New York with her dog Lola. Pattie is the Director of Closed-end Funds at Deutsche Asset Management and spends weekends at her beach-house on Long Island.

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2008

    A reviewer

    It has been years since I sat down and read a book - with 2 kids, full time job and the weekend filled with dance, soccer & baseball - I never thought I would be able to read it. Well-once I started the book, I could not put it down. I carried it everywhere and read it whenever I had a chance. I cried and laugh throughout the book. It really makes you stop, think and be greatful for what you have. These ladies found strength in each other and that got them through a very difficult time. It also made me very thankful for my husband. I hope they write a Part 2.........

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2006

    What a great book!!!

    All I can say is that it's a great and emotional book. It makes you think differently about your partner. I borrowed it from the library, but I'm going to buy it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 7, 2006

    TRULY WONDERFUL STORY

    I COULD NOT PUT THIS BOOK DOWN IT WAS SO TOUCHING AND DETAILED I FELT LIKE I HAD GAINED 5 NEW FRIENDS ANDFELT THEIR JOYS AND SORROWS WITH THEM. I WAS VERY SAD TO SEE THE BOOK END AND FELT LIKE I WAS LOSING MY FRIENDS. THESE LADIES SHOULD BE COMMENDED FOR THEIR STRENGTH TO BE ABLE TO TELL ALL OF THEIR PRIVATE INTAMATE DETAILS OF THEIR LIVES WITH THEIR HUSBANDS. YOU CAN'T HELP BUT TO WANT TO JUST REACH OUT AND HUG EACH OF THEM. IT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE READING THIS BOOK I THINK IT SHOULD BE AN OPRAH BOOK. THANK YOU LADIES SO MUCH FOR SHARING YOUR STORIES WITH US. LOVE YOU MEAN IT LISA

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2006

    If Friendship and 9/11 interest you...read it.

    One of my best friends gave me this book for my birthday. We spent Tuesday September 11, 2001 together, from morning until night and beyond. I will never forget that day and the support she gave me. But this book goes beyond 9/11. It shows what amazing gift friendship can play in our lives. I recommend it to all that have that incredible special bond with a girlfiend that we can share anything and to all who 'love it, mean it'. To the WC - Thank you.

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