Early morning, 9/11/2001.
You woke up, took a shower and got dressed. I know you wore that nice black suit we bought a couple of days before your return to New York City on 9/9/2001. Your roommate told me he heard the door slam as you left for work, but he did not see nor speak to you. You never returned back home.
I found the photos you took in Sweden in your apartment. You developed them 9/10/01. The extra copies that you were going to send to me you had brought to your office on 9/11/01. I never got them. They disappeared with you. That is why these photos are so precious to me.
Almost six months have passed since those horrible, mean people murdered you in cold blood. Is it really six months? To me it seems like only yesterday.
My friends ask me, "What do you do all day long?" I am silent for a while. How do you respond to such a question? Then I say, "I am grieving." Silence again.
David, you know that you three, my children, are my life. Now I have lost you, my darling. It absolutely breaks my heart that I will never see you again, hug you, talk to you, see you age, or play with your children. I will never again get to read your intriguing stories of adventures and new discoveries. When I read the letters you have written through the years I feel so close to you.
I have told you on many occasions that I feel I have lost so many years of your youth, and I was sad about this. Now I have lost you forever. This is too cruel. I cannot handle it. David, you took a large part of my heart with you.
We shared some interest in music, David. Today I cannot listen to music, it makes me so sad. Next time I were to visit you we would go to some jazz clubs. Now I am scheduled to go to New York in September of 2002, but for a completely different reason.
Normally when you had been at home and returned to New York you left things here and there for me to pick up later. The last time you only left a pair of used socks on the floor. I did not have time to wash them before 9/11. I still have not and I never will. I smell them every day and they smell of you David. I am so afraid that your smell will vanish. I can see the shape of your feet in the socks. There are some tiny spots of dirt on the outside, and inside I can see tiny pieces of skin, which have come from your feet. This is all I have left of you. I do not usually like the smell of used socks, but these mean everything to me. They contain the last scent you left behind.
David, you and I have always had a special bond, and will always have. You had a heart of gold. I love you more than life itself. David, I will be sitting in a chair in Bryant Park in September of 2002, drinking Starbuck’s Coffee and thinking of you.
I love you,
To my brother David Tengelin,
David, I miss you so much. Last Monday it was 6 months since you were killed and next Monday would have been your 26th birthday; two painful days only one week apart.
I meet you in my dreams; we joke around, you help me out, we eat, we do the things we used to do and enjoyed doing together. Once I dreamt that you came back after having vanished on September 11th. It was such a relief and I no longer felt the enormous burden that I otherwise feel. My energy is constantly drained from the burden of grief I carry around. I am tired, unmotivated and I sometimes find it hard to breathe, which makes me sigh a lot. I wish this was all a bad dream from which I could wake up; but on the contrary it is when I sleep that I see you, only to wake up to the sad, harsh reality that you are gone.
Another time I dreamt that we were in the same room and you were sitting at the computer. I saw you from behind and all I kept thinking about was that I could have given you a hug. Last time I hugged you was at the airport on September 9th. How I wish I could do that again.
I know you have always done your utmost to take care of me and guide me like a big brother. I know you worried about me; now I worry about myself because you are no longer there for me. Patric and mom are doing all they can to help me like you have always done for me before. I promise we will always support each other and you will forever be present with us. I have always considered myself lucky to have two brothers like you and Patric, and I am proud to be your little sister. Our lives will be empty without you David, but you will forever be my big brother.
Lots of love,
I love you so much brother. I would give my own life to bring you back. I hope you know how much your friendship, your frankness and your compassion meant to me. You have been my greatest source of inspiration ever since you left for America six years ago. I miss our conversations and our daily email correspondence like you could never imagine. Five months after September 11 your presence is still so strong, but when I tell myself that I will never see you again, I cry, and I cry, and I cry...
When I saw the jetliners slam into the World Trade Center on live television I just froze. I could not believe what I had just witnessed. I immediately called you at work and on your cell phone but kept getting a busy line. I tried keeping my head calm while I started making phone calls to find out in which of the Twin Towers you had your office. I kept thinking you would have made it down the stairs if you had only been given a half-decent chance. It was not until later that evening that I cried...
You made so many great friends both in Arizona and New York. I met most of them at your memorial service. They all came out to bid you farewell at the Gustavus Adolphus Lutheran Church in Manhattan, on September 22, 2001. It was with pride that I made my way round to greet them all. Most of them I already knew by name from the occasions when you had introduced them to me. As I sat down in the first bench row it really hit home that this was the final stop in life as we know it. I cried like I have never cried before...
When I returned to London, I immediately started redecorating my room. Dan Angelo had presented me with a huge American flag, which I used as a quilt every night for a month. It is now hanging on the wall right next to your soccer jersey. Your photos have been enlarged, framed, and your beautiful smile is the first thing I see when I come home. Your determined look gives me strength and courage and will forever do so. I will grow older but you will forever remain my athletic 25-year old brother.
David, you lived a rich life in a minimalistic manner. You never paused to catch your breath. At 25, you were already an accomplished global citizen and a role model. Your dream was to live in a peaceful world without intolerance and wars. I have made it my mission to carry on your beliefs and not let up in the struggle to promote an open democratic society. You left both a great legacy and a tremendous void. If I ever have a son, I will name him David Jr. after you. I will never forget, but always honor you.
All my love,
Please visit "Through Our Eyes" at:
By Peter Tengelin.
To my son David:
David, I pray for all of us.
Lord, we pray for the power to be gentle; the strength to be forgiving; the patience to be understanding; and the the endurance to accept the consequences of holding to what we believe to be right.
May we put our trust in the power of good to overcome evil and the power of love to overcome hatred. We pray for the vision to see and the faith to believe in a world emancipated from violence, a new world where fear shall no longer lead men to commit injustice, nor selfishness make them bring suffering to others.
Help us to devote our whole life and thought and energy to the task of making peace, praying always for the inspiration and the power to fulfil the destiny for which we and all men were created.
David, take it easy. I am sure we meet again.
All my Love, Dad
I went to his memorial service and found it to be remarkable. His family and his friends celebrated his life and I was deeply touched. I often show out-of-town visitors the Memorial, and it is David's name that I point out... and a condensed version of the stories displayed here that I share.
He and I went to high school in Sweden together, and were quite good friends. To loose a friend through death is very strange, unreal, and, even more so, when it could very well been myself. David and I shared similar life styles. The loss of David, and the attack on us, feels very real, still does.
When the attack happened in 2001 I was in London. Now I am in NYC myself. And I miss having David around, a lot.
My thoughts go to his family, always.
Thanks to the computer age, David Tengelin is someone I found in a search-he performed some years ago in the Arizona games. I wondered then if he was someone I was related to. Tragically, in later searches, I find he was a 9-11 victim. We are the only Tengelin's in the USA, and I often wonder if you are relatives of ours. The picture of him here resembles my brother's childhood pictures (he's now 65). I would like to hear from you, and, I extend my sincere sympathy to your family. Sincerely, Nancy Tengelin (email@example.com