I remember that beautiful Tuesday morning. I was on my way to my mother’s who I was caring for since she had recently returned home from a rehab facility she was at due to a stroke. As I walked towards her place I decided I deserved a break it was the ideal NYC day. The ones you see in the movies. Manhattan was calling me.
I got there and started cleaning up as fast as I could. I went into the kitchen turned on Good Morning America and was washing dishes. Then a special report, Tower 1 was on fire I thought terrorists right away, since I was blocks away when the WTC was bombed in 93. As I’m watching the TV the 2 nd plane flew across the screen I dropped what was in my hand and knew my fears were confirmed. I ran into the living room to turn the big TV on. I was crying so loud I woke up everyone in the apt.
As I watched the events unfold on TV the images seared my brain. When I was at Bethel, on my laundry duty day my favorite spot was the chair with the perfect view across the water facing the WTC. I sat in this chair every week for 3 years. In my mind I felt like I was back in that chair watching this unfold.
Later after the towers fell my husband called and asked if I could get home and get the congregation phone list so I could call and check on those whose numbers he didn’t have in his cell phone. I couldn’t take the subway home since it was on lock down. I hailed a cab and he wanted to charge me $25 for what was normally a $5 dollar ride. I only had $ 8 on me so I got out and started walking hoping I could get another cab.
As I walked I was praying to Jehovah asking him to keep my faith strong. “How could such a horrible thing happen? I know Armageddon is supposed to be worse but the thought was unbearable. Help me not to doubt for I’m finding it hard to understand the death of so many.” Just then a sister from my old congregation offered me a ride. I took that as a sign from Jehovah a way of him telling me not to fear.
I spent the rest of that day along with my husband calling and checking on everyone we knew from the 3 congregations we had served with. Part of me wanted to go down to Ground Zero and help. I always say NYC is my heart and now it was hurt. I wanted to be there with my fellow New Yorkers, hugging and crying with them.
9/11 had an impact on me. I couldn’t go near Ground Zero. I didn’t want to see the gaping hole in my heart which is NYC. I didn’t get the nerve to see it until 2007. I had a hard time looking at the NYC skyline. Watching old movies that feature the skyline gives me a twinge. I cannot imagine the pain of those who were actually there if it affected me this much and I only saw it on TV.
Looking back this was the beginning of cognitive dissonance for me. I had to ask Jehovah to strengthen my faith for I felt myself wanting to question the meaning of all this. I pushed the thoughts of doubt out and became determined to have a greater share in the ministry. I wanted to help bring as many as I could into the organization. I wanted to help spare them death at Armageddon. So I worked my way back to the pioneer list. There was much work to be done this system could not go on much longer with humans capable of doing this on it.
After 9/11 I found it harder to continue living in NY. I also began to cycle in & out of depression over the years. Which I now realize was in part due to the stress & pressures of JW life as well as the thought that Jehovah was letting this system go on. Ever since I was a kid before becoming a JW I was always affected by the tragedies of the world. My mother use to tell me don’t pay so much attention to it, life is hard enough with one’s own problems. The words to the song Imagine was my dream, I always longed for the day those words would come true. This is what drove me into the Watch Tower’s arms, they were preaching of a life I had always imagined.
The other night I watched a Frontline documentary “Faith & Doubt at Ground Zero”. I was in tears because it made me reflect on my recently leaving the organization. Learning that my life associated with the Watchtower was a lie was as if a plane had flown into my heart. 9/11 left a hole in my heart the deception of the Watchtower has left a whole in the core of my very being. I gave my all to the organization. I loved that religion and the people in it with everything I had to give. The heartbreak caused by realizing I was betrayed again by ones I trusted resulted in a mental breakdown for which I was hospitalized for 5 days.
Every year around this time I get a little blue, as I said I love NYC. I never admitted it to anyone as it wasn’t a very JW thing to do. If no one was around I would watch 9/11 memorials. This year I am not only blue over 9/11 but I am in mourning over the void caused in my marriage, the loss of my friends, and the pain caused to so many others by what feels like a terrorist attack to me; the deception & the betrayal of the Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society.
I will continue to heal as the world has had to by what happened on & after 9/11. I will not allow the terrorism of the Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society to have a hold on my life. Every day I work towards my recovery and try to lessen the pain. The beauty of this life & world despite the evils in it and the responsibility I have towards my children keeps me going.