She was just this angel that landed on this planet for a short amount of time.
Thats how actress-model Marisa Berenson describes her sister 53-year-old Berry Berenson Perkins.
A photographer and the wife of the late actor Anthony Perkins, Perkins was seated in row 19, seat A, on Flight 11, traveling from her Cape Cod home to see her sons in Los Angeles.
I hope she didnt suffer, Berenson tells 48 Hours correspondent Troy Roberts, alluding to the crash of that flight into Tower One of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11. Its hard to take in.
We laughed so much about things. We had so much fun together. We loved each other. Im gonna miss the physical contact of it all its hard.
Also on that flight was 33-year-old venture capitalist David Retick of Needham, Mass. He was in the second row, across the aisle from two of the hijackers.
We spoke right before he boarded the plane and it was just, Sorry Ill miss you- I think I said I love you at the end, because we usually did, says Davids wife, Susan
But I remember him saying Gotta go, were boarding. I wish ,you know, like in the movies when people have premonitions of bad feelings like Dont get on that plane. What I would give for having had that premonition.
Perkins and Retick were among the 76 innocent passengers aboard a flight that would change the world.
We were kind of flying in the same skies together, which was so strange, says Berenson, who was flying that same morning from Paris to New York. She was unaware of her sisters travel plans.
We couldnt land in New York and so we were rerouted to St. John, Newfoundland, she recalls. I ended up in a Navy base and I was able to call my daughter. And then thats when she told me over the phone what had happened.
Susan Retick got a call at home while caring for her 2-year-old daughter, Molly, and Ben, who is 4.
One of the worst things in the beginning is when they keep asking for their dad, she says of the childrens reactions. But when they stop asking Its going to hurt ten times more when they stop asking for him.
The couple starting dating in college. Senior year, I had asked him out on a date, Retick says. They were married six years after they met.
He loved his family and was a warm , caring person, so I got the entire package, she says.
The Reticks third child is due next month and Susan Retick expects that will be a hard day.
People thought I was crazy, but I always said how much I loved labor. Not that I loved the pain of it. But to me, theres absolutely nothing more special than bringing a baby into this world and looking over and seeing Dave - the lok, the connection, that we produced this amazing person.
David Reticks office hasnt been touched since the day he was killed, an eerie reminder of all that was lost that morning.
In Paris last week, Berry Berenson Perkins was remembered by family members and friends from around the world. The sisters were born into wealth and privilege. Their grandmother was designer Elsa Schiaparelli and their father was a U.S. iplomat.
Together, they were a fascinating sister act: Marissa a top model and actress and Berry a fashion photographer who occasionally worked in films.
But the role Berry most enjoyed was that of wife and mother to her two boys. When Tony Perkins died of AIDS in 1992, Berry was at his side, having nursed her husband through the last years of his life.
She was very spiritual, says actor-director Richard Benjamin, a long-time friend. I think she felt that it was not right to live the day that you were in. Somehow with that terrible tragedy she was able to pull herself together for the boys.
The boys are now men. Twenty-five-year-old Elvis is a musician and 27-year-old Osgood is an actor.
Theyre dealing with it in their own way, Berenson says of them. Its devastating, obviously. How can you deal with losing your father and then your mother in such circumstances?
As a goodwill ambassador for the European arm of the United Nations, Berenson has for years helped promote tolerance and peace around the world. Her sisters death has made this mission personal.
I have hope and tremendous faith, she says. I think thats what gets you through life through tragedies is when you have faith.
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