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AKIPRESS.COM - Delaney Colaio was 3 years old on Sept. 11, 2001.
Her mother had been getting her ready for ballet class that morning; her father had left the family’s TriBeCa apartment for another day at work on the 104th floor of the World Trade Center’s North Tower.
When the phone rang at their home that morning, her mother turned on the news. “I remember seeing her crying, seeing the towers on the TV and seeing a fire, and that’s all I really remember,” Ms. Colaio said.
Her father, Mark Colaio, and two uncles, Stephen Colaio and Thomas Pedicini, perished that day.
Although Ms. Colaio was told what happened at a young age, she said the reality didn’t set in until she was 12 or 13. Major milestones — like birthdays, graduations and anniversaries of the attacks (today marks 16 years) — have been extremely difficult, but even harder are “the little things,” said Ms. Colaio, now 18 and a freshman studying film at Quinnipiac University. “Would I have the same laugh as him or would I have the same sense of humor? My mom tells me that I do, but it’s just the unknown.”
Earlier this year, Ms. Colaio began working arduously on writing and directing “We Go Higher,” a documentary by and about children who lost parents on Sept. 11.
“We’ve committed to filming every single 9/11 kid that wants to be filmed,” she said. So far, they’ve interviewed nearly 70 of the more than 3,000 children who lost parents in the attacks, many of whom she was able to reach through the organization Tuesday’s Children. The current participants range in age from 15 — children whose mothers were pregnant then — to 52.
“A lot of the kids felt as though they needed this now — they finally wanted to share their stories and to help other people,” Ms. Colaio said. “They don’t want the suffering to victimize them anymore.”
The project has been an “emotional roller coaster,” Ms. Colaio said. “What I’ve learned about myself is that it’s O.K. to not be O.K. all the time — I never cry, ever, but through this process, I’ve cried almost every week — and allowing myself to feel all of those feelings was a big personal growth that I’ve had.”
Of the film, she added: “For people who are going through what we went through now, I really hope that this can be a message that there’s life after grief. If something tragic happens in your life, that’s not the end. You have the ability to continue going and write your own story.”
The film, produced by Women Rising, is expected to premiere in 2018, reports New York Times.