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The Slice: Memories fade; hurt still lingers

Exchanged emails the other day with my friend J. Scott Miller, a Spokane lawyer.

I am taking the liberty of sharing part of what he wrote.

“Every Sept. 11th I remember my very good friend, Kirsten Christophe.

“On 09/11/2001 she had returned to work at AON Corp. where she was the VP of risk management. It was her first day back following maternity leave, and she was on the 104th floor of WTC Two (the South Tower).

“We had been exchanging emails in preparation for an upcoming meeting of the American Bar Association where we were scheduled to speak on the same panel.

“She was a remarkable lawyer, with special expertise on legal malpractice insurance. She had a meeting scheduled that morning but we were planning to have a conference call later that day.

“I don’t know what happened to Kirsten, and I’m pretty sure I don’t want to know. Kirsten and her husband, Charles, rode the train into Manhattan together that morning, and said goodbye in the WTC station a few minutes before the North Tower was hit. Kirsten left Charles a voicemail shortly after the South Tower was hit, assuring him that she was OK. No one heard from her after that.

“Their daughter, Gretchen, turned 1-year-old two days later, and has grown into a lovely young girl, and all of us are happy about that.

“Every Sept. 11 I send an email to Kirsten. I think AON must have kept the account open because it never bounces back.

“I guess you can say the memory has dimmed. But I think it’s the same whenever we lose a family member or close friend. You never get over the hurt, you just get used to it.”

Thanks, Scott.

Here is the ending of a story about Kirsten Christophe from the Oct. 20, 2001, edition of the New York Times – part of that newspaper’s stunning “Portraits” series:

Like most busy professionals, the couple, who lived in Maplewood, N.J., divided their child care responsibilities, and it was Ms. Christophe who would put the baby to bed. Gretchen, who turned 1 on Sept. 13, does not talk yet, but Mr. Christophe knows she misses her mother, especially in the evening. “She cries, ‘Mommy, Mommy,’ ” he said. “What can I say?”

Write The Slice at P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; email

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