George Bentrem says it has taken a couple of years for the family to come to grips with what he called a "forest fire" of the soul.
Even so, he says, "there are days when it's tough to deal with it. I really don't understand how people go through these things without God."
Tom Pierce says he doesn't feel he's going through life without Jo Ann or Lisa. He says he feels the presence of his wife and daughter every day.
"It's so obvious that they are still with me and helping me through things," he says.
Pierce, 62, says he believes that both his wife and daughter anticipated that their deaths were near. He says the accident was somehow "supposed to happen."
More than most of the survivors, Pierce has made an effort to stay in touch with the rescuers and fellow Lady D passengers -- surprising many of them with his cheerfulness and positive outlook.
Last year he came to Baltimore for the first anniversary of the capsizing and ended up having a five-hour dinner with Sebeck, the firefighter who participated in the rescue. He says he's thinking of returning to Fort McHenry tomorrow.
For a year after the accident, Pierce poured his energies into writing a book he called The Last Rose: A True Celebration of Eternal Life. He says it's not about the accident but about "the power of love" -- a man for his wife, a father for his daughter and two women for mankind.
The book's name, he says, is a reference to his practice over 37 1/2 years of marriage of presenting Jo Ann with a rose on the 13th of each month to commemorate the anniversary of their marriage Aug. 13, 1966. He says he hopes to send copies of the self-published, 90-page volume to each of his fellow survivors.
Pierce, a computer consultant, says he owns a half-interest in a restaurant near his home in Vineland. He recently bought a second building in Richland Village, N.J., where he plans to open another restaurant. He will call it The Legacy and hang portraits of Jo Ann and Lisa there.
Pierce says the experience of loss and recovery has made him stronger.
"It hasn't been difficult. It hasn't been great, it hasn't been fun, but on the other hand it has," he says.
For Denny and Karen Schillings, perhaps the hardest thing to understand is why they lived and their daughter and the man she loved died. He was a strong swimmer. She was very fit. The elder Schillingses were in their mid-50s.
"You would not expect us old folks to have survived. There's no logic to that," Denny Schillings says.
Corinne Schillings and Andrew Roccella were both 26 and graduates of Purdue University. Yet they had to go halfway around the world to meet as students abroad in Italy.
They were both working in Washington when her parents came east to visit, and they all decided to spend a Saturday afternoon in Baltimore with Roccella's mother and father.
Relatives say that had Andrew and Corinne made it through the weekend, they almost certainly would have become engaged. Instead, when the wind and waves struck the Lady D, they would disappear into the depths of the Patapsco River, and their bodies would be found more than a week later.
For Corinne's parents, healing has come in the form of work -- and a labor of love.
Karen Schillings, 57, says she returned to her job teaching first- and second-grade art two weeks after the funeral. People worried that it was too soon, she recalls, but she found it helpful.
"I found that as long as I was with the kids, I felt that I had purpose," she says. Had she not resumed her life, Karen says, "Corinne would be very upset with me."
The Schillingses also established the Corinne Jeannine Schillings Foundation, providing scholarships to award-winning Girl Scouts who want to study foreign languages and grants for college-level study abroad. To her parents, it is an appropriate tribute to a young woman who loved to travel and spoke four European languages.
Denny says the inspiration for the foundation came to Karen when she was still in intensive care at Johns Hopkins Hospital for a life-threatening heart condition -- "broken heart syndrome" -- brought on by the stress of the accident.
Known to physicians as stress cardiomyopathy, it mimics the symptoms of a heart attack by stunning part of the heart muscle. But patients who survive typically recover quickly, as Karen did, and Denny says that "we will always be indebted" to the Hopkins staff.
But while the foundation was Karen's idea, it might have been Denny's salvation.
Karen says her husband threw himself into the project, spending many hours developing a Web site (www.cjsfoundation.org) and establishing criteria for the awards.
"It was truly cathartic for us," Denny says.
The Roccellas have established a similar foreign study scholarship in Andrew's name at Purdue. Liza Boffen-Yardanov, director of development for international programs at the Lafayette, Ind., university, said three scholarships have been awarded, with more to come in about two weeks.