Fireman's Kin Still Trying to Cope

Daily News City Hall Bureau

They are decisions no parent should ever have to make.

Since Sept. 11, Bud and Pat Kiefer have faced painful choices about how to honor their son Michael Kiefer, a firefighter whose remains haven't been recovered: whether to get a death certificate or hold a funeral, what they would put in their son's coffin, whether to attend the ceremonies at Ground Zero.

For many of the families like the Kiefers who lost loved ones in the World Trade Center attack, grief has not moved along a straight line.

Playing It by Ear

Whether the Kiefers will come to today's ceremony for family members at Ground Zero from their home in Franklin Square, L.I., was not certain, even to them.

"We can't make plans anymore," said Bud Kiefer. "We'll just have to wake up [today] and see how we feel."

Most days, the Kiefers feel lost without their son.

Michael Kiefer, 25, was his father's best friend, his mother's thoughtful son, a big brother who was the envy of his sisters' friends, and the handsome fianc