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After Nancy was lost on September 11, many of her friends and acquaintances felt compelled to articulate what made her “special” by sending us letters and e-mails. Some of these letters were quite long and obviously took a lot of time to compose, but they all shared a theme. They described someone with an overwhelming dedication to what she believed in and a determination to be the best at whatever she did; someone who earned the unbridled love and admiration of her peers but never actually realized that she was special; someone who just did what came naturally and never felt that what she did so well, warranted the praise and admiration she received.

What was most striking was that it was not only Nancy’s longtime friends who felt this way, but also acquaintances who knew her for only a short time. The words “inspiring” and “admirable” echoed throughout the correspondence we received. People lauded Nancy’s honesty, dedication, and sincerity and went out of their way to make special mention of her positive attitude—always upbeat and smiling—and “what a smile!” We knew about her extensive network of friends, the West Side, the biking community, and her Colorado friends, but we had never realized the breadth and the depth of these relationships, nor had we fully appreciated her impact on seemingly everyone she met.

The love between children and parents is instinctive and is part of being human. But love between friends is voluntary, conscious, and, most of all, earned. It is a love very much like that between a husband and wife—a mutual appreciation and dependency. The love that Nancy’s friends had for her, as expressed in the letters we received, is not dissimilar to the love one has for a spouse. After reading the correspondence we received, a friend of ours remarked that he would want nothing more than for his friends to remember him in the same way that Nancy’s friends remember her. It is so that you may know Nancy through the eyes of those who knew and admired her that we have compiled the letters in this book.

Nancy had a talent for uplifting everyone around her. Her exuberance and boundless energy left no room for anybody near her to be glum or depressed. If you were feeling down for whatever reason, she would laugh and explain how silly or ridiculous you were for feeling or behaving the way you did. Before long, you found yourself laughing with her, with your optimism and happiness restored. Nancy was a true practitioner of the instruction to I’vdu Es Hashem B’simcha (worship G-d with happiness).

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Acknowledgments Introduction Testimonies Photo Gallery 1 Reflections from Nancy's Mother