Warning: NSFW – post behind cut
I hadn’t planned on writing about 9/11 because I have too much to say about it. Too much that is personal and nothing that I thought could be of any interest to anyone. Or helpful or insightful. Perhaps I was wrong. Perhaps the perspective of a Pagan who lost someone in the attack, someone who is still in pain, would be of some value. I’ll give you a warning, I’m not editing this…just writing what I think as I think it. It may not be the most coherent. Also – I’m not taking a shot at anyone and I fully realize (in my head) that most of blog entries I’ve read are meant in the most compassionate, kind, and thoughtful way possible.
I got back home on Sunday evening and popped on my computer and started reading various Pagan bloggers’ thoughts on 9/11. The consensus seems to be that those of us still grieving are Doing It Wrong. We should be doing something else on 9/11. Burning lanterns, reading the Koran, embracing our community? Something like that. See, everyone knows what we should be doing and if we just did that, why everything would be so much lovelier. We wouldn’t have the boring commemoration ceremonies, the focus on violence
Did she burn? Pleasepleaseplease don’t have let her burn.
and other unpleasantness. I mean, aren’t we all just sick of 9/11 and how it has been turned into something political? 9/11 wasn’t turned into something political, it was a political act. My best friend, maid of honor at my wedding, died because some people wanted to make a political point. That’s all R was to them, one more body
If I squeeze my eyes shut really tight it’ll go away. Anything but burning. She jumped, that’s it, she jumped before she burned.
in their message to America. So we can’t turn 9/11 into something political. It was and will always be political. We can’t avoid it. Which is usually the cue for people to say, “America is at fault and her actions brought on 9/11.” Victim blaming never goes out of style, does it? Yes, actions have consequences, but people are also responsible for their own actions. Those men didn’t kill R because of US foreign policy, they did it because they are evil, violent bastards acting in an evil and violent way. They did it because their leaders are power mad and this shit is a tool to use to gain more power. And you know what? I’m very angry about this and if you think I shouldn’t be angry, should spend the day chanting
What if her lungs were burned out by the heated air and she clawed at her throat? No, count numbers, count numbers and push the thought away.
or engaging in interfaith dialogue – you have no idea what many of us are still going through. What that anniversary day is like. Some I spend drinking. Hard. I rarely cry anymore. I may try to plan a ton of activities. Or I do nothing and lay in bed. Mostly I am apathetic to everything going on around me, until I get angry at the drop of a hat. Two years ago I tried to pray and make an offering to the Heroes of Flight 93. There is a growing cultus in Hellenismos for the passengers to be honored as Heroes and I thought I might find some comfort in that. But I tuned out after a few people argued that they can’t be “real” heroes since they don’t meet the criteria. They weren’t being assholes, but it was just more shit piled on top of a pile of shit. And yes, I know I’m being self-centered.
So when I hear people criticize some of the family and friends of those lost in 9/11 because they want to oppose the building of a mosque and Islamic center near the World Trade Center, I just don’t understand where you get off thinking that you have the moral high ground to pass judgment on them. That their grief is wrong and they are terrorists
Pain and fear? Her last moments were pain and fear? She was laughter and her hair smelled like Suave. Now I can’t stand Suave. Crushed. She was crushed. Stop. Just stop.
for expressing it that way. You call them bigots. You know what? We live with this loss every day. You don’t. So if I want to stare at a wall for hours and they want to join in a peaceful protest and others want to drink or garden or pray – who are you to tell us what to do? How we should grieve. How we should feel. What would be better. Better for whom? You? Better for your agenda? If I had my way, we would all watch the news footage of that day on each 9/11. We would watch as people
Please let the smoke have killed her. She just coughed for a bit, then lay down by a desk and went to sleep. She was dead long before the flames got her. Or she jumped.
jumped out of the windows – picking that to burning to death. We would see the rescue efforts. We would listen to the phone calls home
R never called. That means she died right away. Perhaps right when the plane hit? Or was knocked unconscious?
by people trapped, telling family they loved them. Pleading for help. I want their names known along with their hopes, dreams, and accomplishments. I want them remembered. Even if you are tired of hearing about it. Even if you find it kind of a drag. Even if the Hindus or Buddhists or Shinto have a much cooler way to spend the day.
Some family and friends of the dead talk about 9/11 all the time. Others, like me, can’t talk about it at all. I may write about it a bit, from time to time. But I can’t talk about it. It was three years after the event before I told my husband that R was dead. I said one sentence to him and I’ve not discussed it out loud since. In Hellenic burial ceremonies the family screams the name of the dead three times and then they leave the burial site. It’s supposed to be a way to separate the living and the dead. I won’t say R’s name out loud. I can’t.
Jason, at The Wild Hunt described our nation as being in a kind of limbo. Not knowing how to honor this day or make it truly sacred. He has no idea how true his words are. We, those still shattered by this attack, are still in limbo. It would be great if we could find a way to make this day sacred. To honor our dead. But those of us still overcome, can’t get there from here. Hell, we can’t even see it from here. I don’t know why that is. I’m as baffled as anyone else. It’s not like I haven’t had people close to me die. I have. And I’ve known people who died violent deaths. But this. When it happened, and I was driving to work on 394 in Minneapolis and the traffic stopped because we were all listening to our radios – that was the only right and normal thing that happened that day. Traffic stopped. And it felt like the world stopped. And each year the world should stop again and it doesn’t and that feels wrong. And all of you who can be irritated or bored or ignore 9/11 feel wrong to me. Out of place, but you talk about how I (and others who are still mourning our dead) are the ones out of place. How we are wrong. I can’t face you, I can’t deal with you. We are two separate species of animals on this day.
There is one thing that gave me great comfort. Hector Lugo honors the Passengers of Flight 93 as American Heroes in the Hellenic tradition. He also sent out a prayer. Hector, and all the others in Hellenismos who honored the dead and paid tribute to the Heroes of 9/11 – thank you. Words cannot express how much it meant to me that you did this. How much I appreciate that instead of telling me how I am Doing It Wrong, you just went ahead and made the day sacred using our religion’s practices. You didn’t chastise or make the false argument that our religion is one that demands that we embrace our enemies. You didn’t direct me to follow the example of some other religion, to look elsewhere for some superior solace. I (and others like me) need people like you within our own religious paths to lead, so that someday we can follow and no longer be stuck in limbo.
In shock and wonder we stared, unbelieving.
At the loss of our innocence.
At the loss of our pride.
But soon were we aware.
Of the greatest loss of all.
Your lives were this day taken.
Your light in this world shut off.
Your deaths a pain in our hearts.
We pray to you, who rule below.
We pray to you, who rule above.
We pray to you, who cross the lines.
Bring to these souls their deserved peace.
Bring to these souls this knowledge.
That never will they be forgotten.
Nor by those here maligned.
Bring to these souls their new name.
And our thanks and love this day.