Director/Producer: Beth Murphy
"You choose your way into yourselves," is a most apt description of how two widowers manage their lives in the years following their husbands' deaths on planes that crashed into the World Trade Center on 9/11.
In this inspiring and spiritual documentary, Susan Retik and Patti Quigley, both pregnant on 9/11 and each with three young children, move incrementally from, as Quigley describes it, "post traumatic stress to post traumatic growth."
Beyond Belief, produced and directed by Beth Murphy, follows these two survivors as they adjust to single motherhood, then decide to bike from the World Trade Center to Boston to raise money for women widowed by wars in Afghanistan. They initially see this as an end goal, but after expressing much concern about their personal safety as single parents, travel to that country to personally reach out to the widowed Afghani women they support through their fundraising efforts.
In a country torn by fighting, poverty and oppression, the widowed women touched by the goodwill efforts of Susan Retik and Patti Quigley are given chickens and incubators in order to sell eggs and they receive money to send their children to school.
Expressions of grief are so similar between the two American women and the war widows in Afghanistan, but the differences in their lives are stark. The Afghani widowers cannot remarry or they lose their children to their dead husbands' families, and these widowers receive no government support as single mothers. Footage from meetings between Retik, Quigley and the Afghani widowers are intimate, hopeful and meaningful, and both sides reach easily across the cultural barriers to share their similarities and, far more frequently, the vast cultural differences and inequities that often bring discord but, between these women, bring peace.