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Tanya Villanueva Tepper
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"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.

Entries by Tanya Villanueva Tepper

Camp Widow: This Is What Hope Looks Like (VIDEO)

(0) Comments | Posted November 3, 2014 | 4:40 PM

"The two most powerful words when we're in struggle: ME TOO." -- Brené Brown

It's no secret I am a HUGE fan of the hope and healing which takes place for the widowed community at Camp Widow -- I've written about it here and here....

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As We Mourn Robin Williams, Let's Not Forget the Quiet Heroes

(0) Comments | Posted August 14, 2014 | 10:18 AM

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Photo: Euna Lee
Every man's life ends the same way. It is only the details of how he lived and how he died that distinguish one man from another. -- Ernest Hemingway

As the headlines buzz and our hearts...

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Rebirth at Ground Zero: Lessons in Life, Reverence and Resilience for a New Generation

(0) Comments | Posted May 22, 2014 | 3:55 PM

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"Study the past if you would define the future." ― Confucius


With the 9/11 National Museum officially open to the public this week, much has been written about the the controversy over victims' remains placement, the admission price, gift shop selections,...

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Camp Widow Revisited: Hope and Healing With the People Who Get It Most

(3) Comments | Posted April 4, 2014 | 4:18 PM

"There are times to stay put and what you want will come to you, and there are times to go out into the world and find such a thing for yourself." -- Lemony Snicket

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  • Death Sucks.
  • Hope Matters.
  • Widows...

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9.11 Twelve Years Later: The Battle Is Just Beginning for One of Many Heroes

(0) Comments | Posted September 11, 2013 | 9:15 AM

True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost. -Arthur Ashe

For thousands of survivors, family members, and friends of those who were lost on September 11, 2001, the anniversary is...

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Camp Widow: Where Death Sucks, Widows Rock, and Hope Matters

(1) Comments | Posted June 3, 2013 | 9:16 AM

"Love never dies. Moving forward does not mean leaving everything that was behind. It just means turning your face forward, carrying in your heart what was, as you embrace what could be."

- Michele Neff Hernandez

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Anyone who is struggling trying to...

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One of Nine Subjects

(8) Comments | Posted September 7, 2011 | 10:09 AM

"Grief is like the ocean: it's deep and dark and bigger than all of us. And pain is like a thief in the night: Quiet. Persistent. Unfair. Diminished by time and faith and love."
---One Tree Hill

On the morning of September 11th 2001, I was blissfully painting my...

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