"I'll always grieve...but that does not stop me from living a life of joy."
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.
Tanya is one of the five participants featured in the Peabody award-winning documentary, Rebirth, 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, Rebirth 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.
Tanya appeared on several news programs, including The Talk (CBS), and Good Morning America (ABC). Her story has been featured in numerous film reviews including those written for The New York Times, The Hollywood Reporter, and People magazine.
The film's therapeutic and educational value inspired Tanya to collaborate with the team at Project Rebirth, the non-profit organization created to produce Rebirth. 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.
She lives happily "even after" in Miami with her husband Ray, and two young daughters.