Sonia Mercedes Morales had no way of knowing that her life would end in the horrific Sept. 11, 2001 attacks that killed many. Her legacy, however, is being carried on through her daughter, whose story of hope has inspired many to believe in miracles.
"Remember one thing about your mother. I am a survivor and always will be," Morales told daughter Tita before getting into the taxi that took her to the airport that fateful morning.
"On September 11, when my mom perished on flight 11, it was as if I died too. It was so painful; it physically hurts," Sonia "Tita" Puopolo told CBS. "It's a broken heart. We all understand what a broken heart is when you lose anyone, but especially for a mother, because mothers are the ones who give us life."
In 2012, rescuers discovered Sonia Morales' left hand buried under 1.6 million tons of debris, with the wedding ring from husband Dominic Puopolo still intact. They were able to return the ring to the family, who were astonished by the discovery and touched by the return of the emotionally valuable item.
"My mom was my greatest inspiration," Tita Puopolo told NewsCenter 5. "My mom was a teacher. Love is the force that can help us heal. Love is the force that can help us persevere. I meditated and thought, 'What is the message here?' For my father, it showed love lasts forever. And for me, I really do feel like it came back for a purpose, to share the message that miracles do happen."
Tita Puopolo was seriously injured in a car accident. She has become a passionate advocate for the power of hope and miracles. Her book, "Sonia's Ring: 11 Ways To Heal Your Heart" is all about offering help and support, as well as encouragement, to any and all who may need some.
"It does not have to be a tsunami, it can be a divorce. It's your 9/11 moment. It's scary. It's okay to cry. You must have faith. You must persevere and know that no matter what, you are not alone," Puopolo said.