In Memory of
Look at us Now
We got together
1981 in Review
Leuzinger High School Class of 1981 - A Tribute To Barbara Jean Arestegui - Class of 1980
Cape Cod Times - March 11, 2002 Knowing all the clinical techniques for overcoming grief has not helped Wayne Nichols' personal grieving process. Six months have not softened the sadness and loss that the Barnstable psychotherapist felt when his fiancee, Barbara 'Bobbi' Arestegui, died on American Airlines Flight 11 on Sept. 11. 'All that I have is so cognitive and this is on a different realm,' he said. 'I'm at the ground level like everybody else.' After the tragedy, Nichols changed jobs, becoming regional manager for an employee assistance program he declined to name. The company works directly with people living and working at Ground Zero in New York City. The six-month anniversary will be difficult for him and for all those closely affected by the events of Sept. 11. 'You come to these anniversaries and it comes right back,' he said. Nichols, 46, said he has found that the effects, both physically and emotionally, have lingered the longest for those closest to the event. The farther one gets from New York and Washington, the less it pervades their daily lives, he said. 'For most people, it's a TV thing. It has a Hollywood quality to it,' he said. Even in New York City, Nichols said there is a difference in the way New Yorkers in Lower Manhattan are dealing with the tragedy as opposed to those in Upper Manhattan. But while the majority of people he has seen in both his practice and in New York appear to be getting back to their routines, he said you don't have to scratch too far below the surface to find lingering pain and fear. 'People are still trying to figure out the lessons,' he said. Nichols is dealing with his grief by trying to keep Arestegui's memory alive. 'If you knew her personality, it's not hard,' he said. 'Every day I see something and I'm reminded of her.' Nichols is also focusing on planning a memorial ceremony and has planted a tree in her memory at their Marstons Mills home. He is also hoping to create a scholarship at Barnstable High School in her name. Arestegui's dream was to be a chef, and Nichols said he will give the scholarship to an aspiring culinary arts student. The flight attendants killed on Sept. 11 have not had as much attention as have the firefighters and police officers who died that day, Nichols said. But in his mind, Arestegui, 38, was as much of a hero as anyone. There is evidence that she was the first victim of the attack. She was killed by the terrorists when she tried to protect the cockpit of American Airlines Flight 11, he said. 'She had to face these monsters,' he said of the 5-foot-3-inch, 100-pound woman. Nichols had some solace that the general public was reminded of Arestegui when her name was the first one read during half-time at the Super Bowl in New Orleans. He said he will continue to use the clinical approaches to grieving that he knows so well to help others, and to help himself when he can. But he knows it is a path made new by each suffering soul. 'There's no cookie cutter approach. The way to survive is you try to find the silver lining of some kind. And you try to live out some of the ideals of that person and incorporate them into yours.'
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