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“I’m afraid not much has changed” besides the tattoo, Mrs. Pfeilstucker said. “But that’s the way we like it.”

Learning to live, love again

If retired school principal Beatriz “Pat” Hymel Lipinski has a free minute in her day, it’s hard to find.

Between early-morning workouts, cooking and checking out the local theater scene, the 62-year-old Mathews, Va., resident enjoys spending time with her two granddaughters.

“I’m probably just as busy, if not busier, than I was before,” said Mrs. Lipinski, whose husband, Lt. Col. Robert J. Hymel, a retired Air Force pilot, died in the attack on the Pentagon.

“I’m doing stuff that I didn’t do before, things that I need to do as I get older,” she said. “I need to keep stimulating my brain. When Robert died, a part of my brain died. I just didn’t want to learn anymore.”

Hymel was working at the Pentagon as a management analyst and would have been 65 this summer.

He cheated death once, Mrs. Lipinski said, when he survived a plane crash during the Vietnam War.

“I always felt God gave him back to me for 29 more years,” she said.

Still, Mrs. Lipinski said she needed time to get to that place of acceptance.

“It took awhile,” she said. “I didn’t have time for counseling. I was walking around depressed. I denied it, but about a year and a half later, my body snapped out of it.”

Two years later, her heart also would find healing in the form of Ed Lipinski, a retired Army colonel and widower whom she married.

She has avoided most of the Sept. 11 memorials, but Hymel’s sister will be flying in this year so the family can spend the weekend together.

Mrs. Lipinski plans on attending the Pentagon’s ceremony, then she and her husband will lay flowers at the Arlington National Cemetery graves of their respective loved ones.

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