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Family copes with loss, demands of everyday life

RIDGEWOOD, New Jersey (CNN) -- Days after the attack on the World Trade Center, Anne Wodenshek held out hope that her missing husband, Christopher, who worked on the 105th floor, would be found alive.

"Maybe he'd be wandering around the city somewhere in a daze or he's in a hospital somewhere and he's unconscious or he's trapped in a hole down there somewhere surviving. I don't know," she said last week.

But hope is now fading, even for this strong mother of five.

CNN's Brian Palmer reports on how insurers are waiving requirements for death certificates and other rules in the wake of the terror attacks (September 19)

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"The children are devastated," Wodenshek said. "They keep asking every night, 'Where's Daddy? Well, Mommy, we watched 'Castaway.' He came back after four years, so maybe Daddy will come back.'

"I said, 'I don't think so, Hayley. I don't think so.' "

Meanwhile, the demands of daily life, like paying the bills, do not go away.

"The benefits for our health insurance are paid through the end of the month, and I'm on my own, and there's no more paychecks," Wodenshek said.

Wodenshek is filing a life insurance claim to try to make ends meet.

Usually, life insurance companies require a death certificate to pay a claim and proof that remains have been recovered, but that could take months.

But many insurance companies are changing their rules in the case of the September 11 attacks.

"All of the life insurance companies we are talking to, and we are talking to them all, are saying the (act of) war exclusion, terrorist exclusions, do not apply here," said Herb Perone of the American Council of Life Insurers.

"I can only tell you if they're on the list (of the missing), they were in the building, we know that someone is missing as a result of this disaster, we're going to expedite the payment of this claim," said Robert Benmosche, chief executive officer of Metropolitan Life Insurance.

CNN's Brian Palmer contributed to this report.

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