Catherine Lisa LoGuidice and I have precious little in common. She was born nine years before me and lived several states away. I've never met her. Perhaps on one of her adventures, chasing down some hard rock star or heading out to defy death on a mountain biking trip, she wound up on a road trip, and maybe she passed me in a car on I-95 once and neither one of us knew it. I've come to believe that it's a smaller world than we think this is, and the Pisces within me likes to believe that the connection between me and Catherine is on purpose.
A big part of Catherine's life was love - she had the time and heart for lots of it. She loved her two god-daughters, and friends and family members. She had even found the kind of love that people pray and wish for in a fiancee, an old friend she'd known since high school. She was planning to get married to Erick Elberth, and all of her friends and family celebrated with her at a bridal shower. She was a beloved daughter to Catherine Masak and Carmelo LoGuidice, sister to Lucy and Michael, and an aunt to many. A part-time veterinary assistant, Catherine loved animals, too. One thing that she definitely shared with me was a love of reading - Anne Rice was one of her favorites! I can imagine her four cats finding other things to do while she got all wrapped up in some intriguing story packed with horror and suspense.
Her life seemed full. Her taste in music - on the edge. Her taste in stories - on the edge. Her sky diving and mountain biking - on the edge. This woman, of tattooes, intricate Halloween costumes, and horror movies wasn't one-sided, though. Her brother Michael knew that she loved Thoreau so much that she once travelled to his famous retreat, Walden Pond. She also took up Tai Chi, an ancient art characterized by its graceful and gentle movements that inspire health and inner peace.
What's crazy is that you could walk past Cathy, as her friends and family called her, on a crowded street - bump into her maybe - and never know all of the wonderfully interesting stuff about the woman you were bumping into.
When the planes hit those towers on September 11, 2001, I was in bed, getting ready to wake up and go to class across town. Catherine was at work. She was an assistant bond trader for a firm called Cantor Fitzgerald. As a nation, we were all shaken and confused while the tragedy was happening, but I can't imagine how Cathy and her family felt in particular on that morning.
She died that day, five years ago, at the age of thirty. She was on the 105th floor in the first tower, and it's pretty likely that she just wasn't able to get to a safe place. Like many of us, she hadn't thought much about the World Trade Center attack in 1993 since it happened. Her job was at the World Trade Center, so that's where she stayed for the several years to follow.
When she was memorialized, donations to the ASPCA were requested instead of flowers, honoring her animal-loving spirit. After her death, and the deaths of 2,995 others, I mourned, wearing black for two days and crying for many more, shocked and deeply moved by the television images of people wandering the area near the towers with signs seeking their missing loved ones. At the time, and even now, I am just a fellow American with no direct connection to the tragedy. But I suspect that Cathy's family felt the impact of the tragedy much more intensely, and I suspect that today, and every day, they remember Cathy's life more lovingly than I ever could. They, and the other 2,995 families of the deceased and missing, have my most reverent sympathy.
I hope that those who knew Cathy can get joy from their memories of what they loved most about her, and that if they are able to learn anything from the way she lived her life, that they'll honor her memory by doing so.
May her spirit rest in peace.
Thanks to Legacy.com and CNN.com for information on Cathy that served as the source of this tribute.