New York Times Portraits of Grief

James A. Trentini / Mary B. Trentini

In retirement, James and Mary Trentini traveled at every opportunity, wherever their fancy took them. But in particular they liked to go to California to see their daughter Patti in Irvine.

Patti was the mother of three of their grandchildren, ages 2 to 7, and it was great fun to haul the grandchildren off to the beach or to soccer games or, most of all, to Disneyland.

Mr. Trentini, 65, a former schoolteacher, and Mrs. Trentini, 67, a former school secretary, lived in Everett, Mass. But every Christmas would find them in Irvine and sometimes they would linger there for weeks, lavishing attention on the grandchildren while waiting for the warmth of spring to return to New England.

This year they headed out to California early. Patti had called to say that she and her husband, Donald Paris, were planning to take a couple of weeks of vacation back east on Martha's Vineyard and would "Grandpa" and "Mimmie" mind flying out to the West Coast to baby-sit?

The Trentinis immediately booked a flight for Los Angeles: American Airlines Flight 11, the flight they always took west. They were scheduled to fly out Sept. 10, and had so many presents for the grandchildren that they needed an extra suitcase. Then Mr. Trentini was summoned for a day of jury duty on the 10th. They rebooked for Sept. 11.