Stories

A Womb Twin 9/11


by Monica Hudson


My inner 9/11 is a loss which looms just as large and digs just as deep to me as the outer 9/11...yet there is no coverage of the lone witness, made more so by society. Odd stares of judgement were my only funeral for decades. Such devastating alienation added to the aloneness incomprehensible to a twin and entirely inconceivable to a singleton, whose death rituals and symbols need no explanation among the rows of shoulders to cry on for lesser losses.


As the world mourns 10 years since 9/11/01 with all its remembrance pageantry and public acknowledgement of sorrow, it is painfully clear to me that memorials are only for certain deaths.


The lone tower standing without its twin, ready to fall down and die at any moment, is me. The tower jumpers mirror the death of a twin who couldn’t implant and fell away to an unknown abyss, to its surviving twins' horror. The sickening vagueness in the lack of evidence and desperate need for closure by 9/11 survivors is the birthright for womb twin survivors who can’t even remember any different.


Although the tragedy of 9/11 feels equal to my inner loss, the difference is that my Ground Zero is Ground One – Individuality. Instead of a grim void littered with smoldering wreckage, my aftermath is a lifetime of being without my twin/triplet/quadruplet.


Here at Ground One there are no ambulances or camera crews, just a lonely incubator and the pressure to function in a world that didn’t welcome my cherished others. Here at Ground One, any kind of non-self-made ceremony would’ve helped yet nothing would’ve ever been enough. The aching indelibility of this inner tragedy makes me a walker between worlds, never able to be a twin or a singleton, forever trapped falling from my twin tower with no place to land, among the oblivious who could be witnesses.


Imagine a world where 9/11 happened and nobody paid attention or cared. It just happened and then it was no longer happening and nobody was affected but you. And every Sept 11 you had to put on your birthday hat and smile to fool the world you weren’t dead inside, unable to articulate because there was nobody to hear. You had to be the keeper of this memory inside and if you ever said a peep, others would look at you strangely and think you should be over it by now while judging you for being affected in the first place. Now imagine those same people invite you to their dog’s funeral so you can witness a tree-planting in a dog’s memory and you must comfort their loss and not mention 9/11. This is the life of a womb twin survivor and we thought it was normal because we knew no different.


My 10 second fall lasted 44 years until I’d had enough of the ghostly invisibility of silence. Now I won’t shut up. Coming out of the closet, finding Womb Twin and connecting with other survivors has been my anti-terrorist task force.


Recognize my glory: I am a newly constructed tower that gleams and cannot be ignored, standing taller and taller all on my own.


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The tragedy of 9/11 resulted in 2,976 deaths – 40 of which were twins who perished and left their twins twinless. By comparison, the tragedy of womb twin loss affects 600,000 people - most of whom don’t even know but are walking around with an inner 9/11.