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Widow's battle to overcome 9/11 tragedy

PUBLISHED: 12:17 03 September 2009 | UPDATED: 16:26 07 September 2010

Elizabeth Turner

Elizabeth Turner

Charlotte Newton A MUSWELL HILL woman whose husband was killed in the September 11 terrorist attacks has written a moving account of how she rebuilt her life. Elizabeth Turner was seven months pregnant, happily married and enjoying her job as a human re

Charlotte Newton

A MUSWELL HILL woman whose husband was killed in the September 11 terrorist attacks has written a moving account of how she rebuilt her life.

Elizabeth Turner was seven months' pregnant, happily married and enjoying her job as a human resources manager at Channel 4 when news broke of the attacks on the World Trade Centre on September 11, 2001.

Just minutes earlier she had chatted breezily with her publishing director husband Simon, 39, who was about to go to a meeting at the top of the North Tower.

But as the full scale of the atrocity unfolded on television screens at work, and Simon did not call, her life crumbled before her eyes.

In a new book called The Blue Skies of Autumn, Mrs Turner describes the moment when her world came crashing down and she spiralled into an abyss of grief for Simon.

It is a tale of hope and how she rebuilt a life for herself and her son, William, who is now seven.

"There were two reasons why I wrote this book," Mrs Turner said. "I wanted William to have an account from me of events that day and for him to understand the choices I've made.

"Secondly, I wanted to help other people in my situation because I found myself in the most horrific place [after September 11]. I just remember thinking: how come that nobody told me about this?

"I don't mean by declaring it publicly - but it takes time to process such deep emotions of grief, because it is such a shock to the system."

Mrs Turner, 41, met Simon at the Crouch End home of their friends, Jane and Henry Perks.

"Simon and I stayed up talking until 4am and had an immediate connection," she said. "By our third date I knew I wanted to marry him."

After Simon's death, Mrs Turner was not only forced to deal with the pain of losing her husband, but she was also tormented by the prospect of bringing up their son alone.

"Supposedly if you're pregnant you can't separate grief from the hormones of pregnancy," she said.

"But I felt the most horrific emotions in the two months before William was born and I was absolutely terrified."

The kindness and love shown by her parents and three siblings, Deborah, Mark, and Catherine - as well as friends - sustained Mrs Turner through her darkest moments.

"My siblings dropped everything for me," she recalled. "I was probably not the nicest person to be around but they helped me, fed me and sorted out my finances and bank accounts. The way they pulled the stops out for me was very humbling."

The Red Cross also paid for a nurse to help with William when he was born because her family lived outside of London.

Eight years on she is still in the same home she set up with Simon near Coldfall Primary School. But she is also a doting mother, life coach and a reiki teacher.

"Muswell Hill has supported me since I moved here, as a married woman, a widow and a single mother. It has supported me through all and I've always thought it was the most beautiful part of London," Mrs Turner said.


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