September 14, 2001

Stories of Loss

In the wake of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, a collection of stories in which people try to make sense of loss.


Reporter Mark Arax spent three years investigating the murder of his father and yet he's still not at peace when he thinks of his dad's death. (His book is called In My Father's Name.) This is how it goes sometimes: We create a story that tries to explain our lives, and it still leaves so much unanswered. (6 minutes)
Act Two

Look For The Union Label

A father and daughter (Adrian LeBlanc and his daughter Adrian Le Blanc) decide to write his obituary—together—not really thinking very seriously at first about the real meaning of what they were doing. (11 minutes)


“They Can't Take That Away from Me” by Billie Holliday
Act Three


How writer (and frequent This American Life contributor) David Sedaris and his family reacted when Sedaris's mother—a lifelong, unrepentant smoker—developed lung cancer. After a lifetime of barbed, funny remarks, no one in the family is prepared to talk about their feelings. (11 minutes)