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Sacha Lariby interview 2008

Posted 20 Jul 2011 at 12:51 PM by Culto


"My sister perished in the Twin Towers"


Two planes penetrate the World Trade Center. The world stops. About three-thousand people perish under the debris of the skyscrapers. Including IngeBorg Lariby, the only Dutch victim. Seven years later Sacha still misses her sister every day.

by Maroesja Hupkes

"On September 11th 2001 I lost a part of my life. That Tuesday I was working when my husband called me. He sounded confused: "Sacha, where exactly does IngeBorg work? Watch CNN, something terrible happened." On internet I saw how a plane flew into the WTC in New York. My sister worked there! But I didn't know in which of the two towers. I tried to contact her, but I only got to her voicemail. Then my parents called: "Don't worry. We just talked with IngeBorg. She is fine. She was in the other tower." 15 minutes later that one was also hit by a plane. I was completely in shock and paralyzed by fear.
We were almost sure she died, but without confirmation I kept hoping. Some people who just like her, were on the 93rd floor of the South Tower, came out alive. So why not IngeBorg? Maybe she was one of the hundreds of victims in the hospitals with loss of memory. I wanted to go to New York immediately to look for her, but that was impossible. Because of the terror threads the city had been closed down hermetically. All air traffic was cancelled. I was at home helplessly and kept in contact with friends of IngeBorg who were looking for her. I coped with the uncertain days after the attacks by working. I had to have distraction, without that I would become crazy. I couldn't imagine a life without IngeBorg at all.

Close ties
We were like friends for each other. Those close ties grew in our youth. My father had a top-function at a Dutch bank, and so we moved with the family from one country to another. We were both born in New York and we lived in Amsterdam, Casablanca and Milan. IngeBorg and I adapted well everywhere. We were at international schools and we had lots of friends. I was three years older, but we did everything together. Especially in Milan we had lots of adventures. We went out together. Sometimes we caused traffic jams: two blond girls on bicycles...that was quite an attraction over there. We received lots of attention, but we didn't appreciate the slick Italian men.
Our parents gave us a very special and carefree youth. Problems, drama or death: we weren't exposed to it. After High School in Milan IngeBorg went to London alone, to study. She was intelligent, popular and always gave a helping hand to others. After finishing her study she went backpacking in Australia for half a year. Together we made a fantastic journey throughout America and Mexico as well. Because of all those wandering in our youth, IngeBorg continued restless. She loved other cultures and meeting new people. I had those feelings as well, but less than IngeBorg. In the end I settled in Brussels. There I met my husband and really felt at home. IngeBorg couldn't stay long at one place. She met an interesting man who had lived on many continents just like her. He was originally English, born in Brazil and raised in South-Africa. They matched and they married. He had to go to Chile for his job, so IngeBorg went there with him. Unfortunately their marriage failed after two years. IngeBorg was very sad and relaxed here at my place in Brussels. Again she encountered the same problem: where do I go to? She wanted to have a career and she saw the best opportunities in New York.

Declared dead
In New York she found the job that fit her perfectly. She became Center Manager at Regus: an international company that rents office space. She spoke her languages fluently and that's why she had to travel abroad often to open new branches. Thus she worked in Vienna, Sao Paulo and Panama. But she always returned to New York, the city she was addicted to. She loved the hectic and the vibrant life in this metropole. With her good salary she enjoyed everything the city had to offer her. She often went out for dinner, to concerts, rollerskating in Central Parc and she regularly took the plane to have a good time with friends. IngeBorg had become a real New Yorker. She was very proud to open her new office in the World Trade Center. She adored that immense high building and the breathtaking view on her beloved city.

IngeBorg and I saw each other a couple of times a year and we kept in touch through email and phone. I had planned to visit her in April 2002. I hadn't seen her new apartment yet and I was looking forward to be together with her. It didn't turn out like that. A month after September 11 Rudy Giuliani officially declared dead all of the still missing. Including IngeBorg. The awaiting was over. I was close to collapse, but I had to be strong. Together with my husband I went to New York to take care of things. In Manhattan the disaster was sensible. There was still dust of the debris in the air and Ground Zero was closed off. We received the key of IngeBorg's house from a friend. We stepped inside. I thought it was scary and spooky. Everything was still there, as if she could return anytime. I went through her personal belongings , her life, her intimacy. I once shared love and sorrow with her, but now I felt like an intruder. It was horrible. We had to decide what had to be thrown away and what would go to the movers.

Panic attacks
IngeBorg's remains weren't found, later only four damaged creditcards with her name on it. So we couldn't bury her and that complicated the farewell. One of IngeBorg's friends organized a memorial in the week we were in New York. Completely in IngeBorg's style, with music and champaign. There were lots of friends and colleagues and everybody told something about IngeBorg. I was in a sort of trance, outside of myself. But I still realized that IngeBorg had meant a lot for very many people. My parents weren't able to be there. My mother just had surgery and my father took care of her. In Malaga, where they live, they had their own memorial with their friends simultaneously.

Sometimes I wonder how I survived the days after IngeBorg's decease. I had no appetite, suffered from amnesia and panic attacks. Yet, I didn't listen to my body. I just continued with my life. I thought: "If I stick with it too long, I'll collapse." That's why I didn't cope with the trauma well. Often the grief returns suddenly at unexpected moments. Fortunately the pain is decreasing. I don't want to see the images of the attacks again. They gave me nightmares and I still get upset by them. The idea IngeBorg was there is grim. I embrace the thought that she felt nothing of it. She just vanished from the earth..Within one second she was gone by the enormous explosion and flames. At the age of 42 IngeBorg died much too young. She still had so many ambitions, dreams and plans.
And she met her true love just before her death. She even might have had a child, but her destiny decided otherwise. She lived intensely and was happy. Together we had a good life and that comforts me. But the older I get, I long for the unity we were. IngeBorg is my past. What continues are the memories only the two of us are able to recall. Sometimes I browse through our photo-albums, in order to return to the time before 9/11 for a while. That day returns every year, including the pain and sorrow. I think the terrorist attacks in New York involve a dirty political game. For Bush I don't have one good word. But I don't cherish revenge, that's useless. It happened.

I miss IngeBorg very much and that will never end. But she wouldn't have wanted me to feel depressed. IngeBorg taught me to make something out of every day. She lived according to the rule that every day has to be a little party, preferably with friends. Her slogan was carpe diem. When it's hard for me, for instance on September 11th, I open a bottle of her favorite wine and I think: "Seize the day!"
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