I used to have a morning ritual.
Every morning, I would hit the snooze alarm a few times (it went for 7 minutes each time) then wake up and turn on the television to the local news.
I’d gather my clothes for the day, then get into the shower.
I’d always be out of the shower by 8:25AM, ready to brush my hair, watch the news, get dressed and go to work so I could roll into the office by 9:00AM.
One particular Tuesday started out normal enough.
“Shorty came in and she caught me red-handed...” Snooze.
“I-iiiiiiii want to thannnnnnk you...” Snooze.
“I’m a Survivor ain’t gonna…” Snooze!
Finally, I woke up. On came the television. “Traffic on I-93 SB is flowing well into the city…” It was an average day.
I grabbed my brush and headed for the shower. A few blissful minutes later, I emerged, dripping and ready to detangle my hair. This normally took a while, so I went back to the tv.
They were talking about normal morning news things when all of a sudden, there was Breaking News.
Apparently, an aircraft of unknown size or origin had crashed into the World Trade Center. There was no other information available.
I dropped the brush.
I looked at the clock. 8:45AM.
I grabbed the phone.
I was a newlywed – not yet married a year. My husband was a pilot. We also had a ritual. Every night, before we went to bed, he’d call me from wherever he was and he would tell me where he’d be flying the next day. He’d go over his route with me, in detail, so newlywed me wouldn’t have to worry. I could look at the clock and know that he was over Arkansas, or Richmond, or New York City…
He would take me flying with him so I would get to know the exact patterns of his flights, where he’d need to turn. Where things could go wrong.
That Monday night, he’d gone over with me that he’d be flying from MD to NY, with a pattern over Manhattan (that we’d flown together a few weeks prior), that involved flying straight toward the Twin Towers – so close you could feel the wind disturbance from them – and then turning around the city. The winds had been so bad on our flight we’d actually cracked the windshield on the plane we’d done it in. The time he’d be over Manhattan? 8:45AM.
I was so tired, I wanted to get off the phone quickly, so I couldn’t even remember if I said I love you.
I called his cell phone, but all circuits were busy and I couldn’t get through. I called his airline, and they couldn’t give me any information either. I called the airport, and they were similarly unhelpful.
I called the place where he was staying to find out if he’d gone to work that morning. This was particularly damning, because: Yes, he had.
I called the news station to find out if they knew anything. They were no help at all.
I called everyone I knew that might be able to help me find out the answers:
Was the man I love the pilot of the plane that had crashed into the tower?
And then, when the other plane crashed soon after:
Was the man I love responsible for causing two planes to crash?
And then, when the towers fell:
Did the man I love cause all those people to die?
It wasn’t until hours later that news started trickling out that it was a coordinated Terrorist attack, but by then I’d been in a heightened state of panic for hours. When you experience this kind of emotion, it locks in to your body and stays there – forever.
Later that evening, around 5PM, he was finally released to call me and tell me he’d been grounded from flying that morning, and had been wanting to call me all day but wasn’t able.
He was one of the few civilian pilots to fly over the city in days following, and that meant I didn’t get to see him for another few weeks.
I know that he’s alive, and many people suffered losses that day that are still so terrible to contemplate. This was the worst day of my life, though, and maybe through the telling people can understand a little more about why.
I no longer have a morning ritual, nor do I watch the news.
Originally Posted: https://www.quora.com/What-was-the-worst-day-of-your-life-and-why
Originally Posted On: 2016-02-05