New York Times Portraits of Grief

Nathaniel Lawson

The day before the World Trade Center was attacked, Nathaniel Lawson called his sister, Betty Moore, excited to tell her about his new cable television service. "He wanted to be able to watch the Knicks and other games, and to watch the gospel shows," said his niece and Mrs. Moore's daughter, Brenda Weaver.

Mr. Lawson, 61, was a waiter and cook for Forte Food Service, and had been transferred to the World Trade Center just three months before. It was a heady experience for a man who was born and raised in Georgia in a family of 19 children. "He was a very spiritual man," Ms. Weaver said. "He always kept a smile. And he was helpful. Anytime you would call to talk to him about a problem, he was always willing to give good advice and willing to pray with you about anything that was bothering you."

Mr. Lawson lived alone in a tidy apartment in Flatbush, Brooklyn. His grown daughter, Pamela, lives in Germany. He was close to his sister Betty. "For my mother, it's like losing another half of her," Ms. Weaver said.