We will never forget September 11, 2001. On the fifth anniversary of that horrible day, I honor Deepa K. Pakkala.
From researching her name online, I have learned that she was a devoted wife to her husband, Sampath, and a loving mother to her infant daughter, Trish. A perfectionist, she was an Oracle consultant who worked long hours. Because of those long hours, she and her husband had hoped to start their own consulting firm from their New Jersey home. They wanted to be able to spend more time with their daughter, who was born on their ninth anniversary in January 2001. The day she died, Deepa arrived early for her job on the 99th floor of the World Trade Center's north tower. She was 31.
I never knew Mrs. Pakkala, but in the short time I've been reading the tributes written by her loved ones, I can tell she was a wonderful woman. Over and over again, I read about her smile, her compassion, her drive to make the world a better place.
For instance, you can read the beautiful eulogy here. For more comments, you can go to this site to see the memorial page sponsored by Marsh & McLennan Companies, where Deepa was working as a consultant. The New York Times' "Portraits of Grief" profile on Deepa is part of the tribute page found here. The guestbook there includes a tribute from her husband, too.
When I think about the 2,996 people who died in the attacks, I'm overwhelmed. It's hard to grasp such a big number. When I scroll through the unbearably long list of victims at the 2996 site, the names begin to blur. The pain represented by those names is enormous. It's too much for me to process--even five years later.
But today I can pause to feel the enormity of this loss. I can picture a man holding his baby girl, desperately missing his sweet wife. By reading online tributes, I can listen in as Deepa's friends recall her giving spirit. I can imagine the tears of those who loved her. And I can cry right along with them.
I pray that her loved ones have found comfort and peace, and I especially pray that Trish will feel her mother's love every day.
I will never forget September 11, 2001, and I pledge to always remember Deepa K. Pakkala.
(Edited to add: The original 2996 has had some server issues, so you can find the list of victims here.)