The birthday presents are still wrapped, sitting on her mother's bed in Florida.
Elizabeth Wainio would have turned 28 on Oct. 8. For her birthday, she had planned to come to Florida from New Jersey to rest and see her mother's new home.
As district manager for the Discovery Store in New York and New Jersey, Wainio worked long hours and flew all over the country.
Just two days before she was supposed to fly to San Francisco for work, she returned home from Europe. Wainio had seen a friend get married in Italy. She had visited Paris with another friend, ate lunch along the Champs-Elysees, and walked inside a church where she lit a candle for her grandmother.
Wainio had always told her mother, Mary White, that if she ever got to see Paris, she could die happy.
After she got home, she called her mother, Mary White, and talked briefly. She talked about her trip. She said she was looking forward to eating her mother's spaghetti. She said she needed to go, to check her e-mail and messages at work, to make sure everything was on track before going to San Francisco.
Her plane, United Flight 93, crashed in Pennsylvania, near where her grandmother was born.
On Oct. 8, Mary White will fly to Baltimore, where her daughter grew up, for a memorial service. Then she will go to the crash site.
Profile courtesy of THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE.