‘At 80 and terminally ill, she was self-conscious of how she looked. ‘They’ll think you’re a rich, eccentric old Hamptons lady,’ I told her. Having aspired to be one, she was happy with that.’

“We wanted to give her one ‘last hurrah’ before the end of her life. A police officer told my father of a place he just HAD to take my mother. ‘People find it only if they’re lost. It will remind her of Ireland.’ I pulled over. There, laid out, was horizon as far as her eyes could see. She was seeing the ocean she had crossed all those years earlier, for the very last time.”

‘I don’t want to do it.’ Our little girl looked at me in tears, apologizing for her own choices about her body.’: Dad urges us to let our kids ‘decide what they do with their bodies,’ says it’s ‘never too early to emphasize consent’

“Our daughter’s been asking to get her ears pierced for months. Once there, she changed her mind. She kept looking at me, apologizing. It didn’t feel right. My dad instinct kicked in. ‘If she doesn’t want to, she doesn’t have to.’ She kept saying, ‘Thank you for understanding.’ Her voice has been heard. Her body is her own.”

‘I’m so sorry,’ she said. My body had absorbed one of my twins. My womb was a temporary coffin.’: Mom loses twin son in harrowing pregnancy, says she’ll ‘always have a place for him’ in her heart

“Over the next 4 months, I was scanned every 2 weeks. I had to slowly watch my son break down. First, his little eyes, nose, and beautiful lips became harder to see. Then his tiny fingers and toes started to fuse together. Finally, it got to the point where he lost all of his features. It was torture. I just wanted the day to come so I could get him out and grieve. But I also didn’t want to give birth because I knew once he was out, he was gone forever.”

‘Did she just tell me I’m going to have triplets?’ I hung up the phone. I wish we got our fairy tale ending.’: Mother of twins says ‘every ounce of pain has turned into joy’ after losing one child in pregnancy

“‘All 3 of your eggs made it to embryo stage!’ I wish I could tell you that this was it, that we finally had our fairy tale ending. I thought we would get a break, that we had finally ‘arrived.’ I was wrong. I was face down on the floor sobbing. Our Baby C, who we named Charlie, went to Heaven.”

‘You need to go. Be out in nature.’ She took her last breath and vanished into the air. I’ll never forget those words.’: Man’s soulmate dies of cancer, travels the country with her ashes

“My wife knew being out in nature, amongst the wind and the rock, would be my medicine for grief. Two months after she passed, with a map and her ashes, I set off on a journey that would take me 12 weeks, 19,000 miles. I was on my own, but I wasn’t alone. Her urn sat in the passenger seat as she always did. Her spirit was there, guiding and comforting me.”

‘Hon, I know if you’re alive, you’ll make it out.’ I could see the Pentagon from my office. I was 32 weeks pregnant.’: Military couple recalls ‘pure fury’ felt by 9/11 attack, realizes ‘we are a part of history’

“After the first plane hit, my Senior Intelligence Officer was in my office. When the second plane hit, I looked at her. ‘Cathy, this isn’t an accident.’ The phones started ringing. It struck us – all at the same time – my husband was in that building. Our son was home with our nanny. ‘Is Daddy’s shirt ripped?,’ he asked as he saw people streaming out of ‘Daddy’s Pentagon’ as he called it.”