And Then Everything Changed Podcast - Episode 10: The Alchemy of Loss ft. Abigail Carter

Episode 10: The Alchemy of Loss

After her husband’s death in the 9/11 World Trade Center attack, Abigail Carter’s grief cracked her wide open. During an intense period of national mourning she rejected public memorials and found a way to grieve and remember her husband in her own way.


As she turned to writing to make sense of what had happened to her and her family and adjusted to her new life as a widow she discovered that things that had been holding her back no longer did. In this episode, Abigail, an author, and a painter, as well as a widow and a mother, shares how she chose to live a more positive story of widowhood and what her life is like nearly twenty years after the loss of her husband.

“You’ve got 2 choices with anything that happens in your life—any kind of hardship, any kind of suffering…you can choose a negative route or a positive route. And the negative route tends to be really hard work. The positive route if you can get there is a little more like paddling a boat with the current instead of against it.” –Abigail Carter


Abigail Carter was an ex-pat Canadian living in New Jersey with her husband and two young children when her husband died in the attack on the twin towers on 9/11. Following the catastrophe, Abby moved to Seattle with her children and began writing to try to come to terms with what had happened to her family. That act opened another world to her and she wrote The Alchemy of Loss: A Young Widow’s Transformation as a form of catharsis after her husband’s death in the World Trade Center on September 11th, 2001. 


The Alchemy of Loss was chosen by The Globe and Mail as one of the 100 Most Notable Books of 2008 and was long-listed for the B.C. Award for Canadian Non-Fiction, Canada’s largest Non-Fiction prize. Abigail self-published a novel, Remember the Moon in 2014. Her work has also appeared in SELF magazine, Reader’s Digest Canada, MSN.com, Huffington Post, and MORE.com and abigailcarter.com. Abigail is now working on another novel.


I’m a writer, a teacher, a native New Yorker, and I love hearing about people’s lives. When I think back to my elementary school days at PS 20 in Flushing, Queens whenever we began social studies or a history lesson I wasn’t that interested in learning about battles, topography, or politics. What I wanted to know was how people lived: What their families were like, how they adapted to their circumstances, what they ate, how they celebrated, how they felt.
Sociology became my major at Binghamton University and in my life so far I’ve been an actress, a salesperson, a Zoo Keeper’s Aid, a volunteer animal trainer, an ELL teacher, a mother, and a wife. I’m grateful for the experiences I’ve had, all of which led me to create this podcast which is one of the most rewarding projects I’ve undertaken. I couldn’t ask for a better job than having in-depth conversations with survivors, thought leaders, authors, social justice warriors, and people who believe that we are all connected and then getting to share their stories, insight, and vulnerability with listeners.
I’m so glad you’ve landed on this page. I hope you find stories here which resonate with you and that you’ll tune in every week. 
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ATEC (Episode 10) (ATEC Pin 3)