I’m an A-Hole.

No really.  I look back on September 11th and think about that day as we all do.  And I am reminded that I am an asshole.  Not intentionally, but still.

I was 7 months pregnant and working when I heard a co-worker say a plane had hit a building.  Now, considering 9/11 hadn’t happened I truly thought it was some little Cesna that clipped something.  I never thought anyone would be dead or that catastrophe would soon follow.  But either way the thing I did next still haunts me.

I laughed.

I still cringe thinking about this reaction. It was an asshole thing to do even if it was a little plan that clipped something.  But for some reason that was my reaction.

Then everything began to unfold and it was horrific and ungodly and I didn’t know how to process it.  I asked to go home from work but was denied.  I asked to go home because my husband had just gotten home from the end of his tour in the Army (by tour I mean end of his obligation, his 3 years.  He never went to a war zone and fought.)  But since he was still technically in the Army I just knew they would call him back.  I knew it in my heart of hearts.

When I finally did arrive home I woke him up and told him what happened and he began to make phone calls.  He packed his ruck sack and got ready to get the call.

I went to my room and wrote him a letter from his unborn son to put in that bag.  Telling him that no matter what happens he has his son and his wife waiting on him and that we are so very proud of him.

But I’m still an asshole.  I was still just worried about me.  I can say that it is because I didn’t know anyone effected by 9/11 directly.  I didn’t know anyone in NY or anyone who worked in the Pentagon.  I was only worried about me and that is an asshole thing to do.

But as the news sank in about all the lives lost about the bravery of men and women who rushed in to help and in turn gave their lives for others I wept.  I wept for about 24 hours straight.  They kept playing the footage of the plane crashing into the buildings over and over.  I cried imagining the fear they all must have felt, knowing this was it. Knowing they would never get a chance to say goodbye.  Knowing this was the end.

I share this because every year I have made a point to remember.  While my story sticks out in my mind, I also make sure and remember those who lost their lives in a cowardice act of terrorism.  All of those people and their friends and family who lost someone that day.  I commemorate this day each year because it deserves it.  Every year I am on this earth I will remember.  I will say a prayer for those who this day means loss and heartache and painful personal memories.  I will pray that they find peace and comfort.

As Always,

Woman on Pause

6 thoughts on “I’m an A-Hole.

  1. I’m sure others had a similar reaction. You are not alone. No reaction was typical. You were pregnant and your body was being flooded with chemicals. Your emotions were not always your decision. You honour them now and that is what is important.

  2. I think it was a normal reaction to be thinking of yourself, your husband, and your baby on that day. People did not feel safe – we wondered if our town would be hit next – if there were armies of terrorists hiding in plain sight, ready to shoot people down randomly. Especially with your husband in the military (as mine was) it was a very real fear knowing that they might have to go and fight – and die. The whole day was surreal and unbelievable – and none of us were prepared for something like that – or how to act “appropriately”.

    That being said, I totally understand the whole cringing when you think of a memory that makes you less than proud. I have many things I wish I could go back and do differently.

  3. I think you may be being more than a teeny bit hard on yourself. You laughed. You are ashamed of it. That pretty much proves the title of this post as plain wrong. If you were an A-hole, you would still laugh, still not care, and probably not even notice the date until someone mentioned it.

    Laughter is a natural reaction to nervousness. Its uncontrollable. Its not like you thought it was funny, it was a bodily reaction to uncertainty. People do it all the time. At that to the fact that you were pregnant with hormones all over the place and it just seems ridiculous that you could think so badly of yourself. Honour the people that died, by all means, but stop berating yourself for your reaction more than a decade ago. People make mistakes, things happen which we don’t like, but it is important to move past them and be confident in your current self.

    I bet if your son’s friend fell and seriously hurt himself and his first reaction was to laugh before understanding the circumstances, you wouldn’t let him call himself an A-hole in 10 years time about it. Initial reactions are about instinct. They aren’t always the best. The secondary reaction is the one borne of reason. That is what you should care about.

    • I think looking back on it I feel more cringe-worthy about it than anything. It now seems like such a ludicrous reaction considering what it ended up being. But obviously I had no idea.

      Yeah pregnancy hormones can be something. I cried for 24 hours after. That is not an exaggeration. 😉 Thank you so much for your kind words.

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