New York Times Portraits of Grief

Noell Maerz

"He was somebody who fit about 60 years of life into 30 years," said Erich Maerz of his older brother, Noell, 29, a bond broker at Euro Brokers, a triathlete, and an expectant father — his wife, Jennifer, gave birth to their daughter, Noelle, on Halloween.

After Noell Maerz died at the World Trade Center, Erich ran the New York City Marathon wearing his brother's number. Their father ran as well, with only three weeks of training.

Erich Maerz felt his brother's presence strongly during the marathon: "It was kind of the last thing we did together. We really bonded during that race."

Erich Maerz always said his brother was his best friend, yet wondered if that was reciprocated. But in the speech Noell Maerz gave at his brother's wedding, he said, "Erich, I just want to let you know, you're not only my little brother, you're my best friend."

And at Noell Maerz's bachelor party, his friends remarked about how the two said, "Oh, baby!" exactly the same way. "I guess it comes from wanting to be like him," Erich Maerz said. "Growing up I always wanted to be like my big brother."