Contributor

Tanya Villanueva Tepper

9/11 widow living happily "even" after as wife, mother, speaker, writer, and advocate.

<em>"I'll always grieve...but that does not stop me from living a life of joy."</em><br /> <br /> Tanya Villanueva Tepper is no stranger to grief. In 1995, after a lifelong quest for her birth mother to understand the circumstances of her adoption, she learned the painful truth about her suicide. Three years later her father died after a five-year battle against multiple strokes. And then, when she was 33, Tanya's fiancé Sergio, a firefighter, answered the call to the World Trade Center on September 11th, 2001.<br /> <br /> Tanya is one of the five participants featured in the Peabody award-winning documentary, <em>Rebirth</em>, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2011 and on Showtime for the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Filmed over nearly ten years, <em>Rebirth</em> is a living history of the human spirit coping with disaster. Excerpts of the film will be part of a permanent installation in the National September 11 Memorial and Museum. <br /> <br /> Tanya appeared on several news programs, including <em>The Talk</em> (CBS), and <em>Good Morning America</em> (ABC). Her story has been featured in numerous film reviews including those written for <em>The New York Times</em>, <em>The Hollywood Reporter</em>, and <em>People</em> magazine.<br /> <br /> The film's therapeutic and educational value inspired Tanya to collaborate with the team at Project Rebirth, the non-profit organization created to produce <em>Rebirth</em>. Her workshop, "From Sorrow to Rebirth and Everything In Between: A Time-Lapse Journey of Grief Through the Years" delivers hope to attendees of Camp Widow, a program of the Soaring Spirits Loss Foundation. <br /> <br /> She lives happily "even after" in Miami with her husband Ray, and two young daughters.