Elie's Expositions

A bereaved father blogging for catharsis... and for distraction. Accordingly, you'll see a diverse set of topics and posts here, from the affecting to the analytical to the absurd. Something for everyone, but all, at the core, meeting a personal need.

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Monday, April 24, 2006

Why Was This Pesach Different?

To quote the (almost) last words of my favorite book, "Well, I'm back".

I have a lot of posts I want to get out over the new few days, but even less "free time" than usual, since I'm vainly attempting to catch up on eight missed work days. I'll try to get to at least this one done today.

To follow Shifra's example in terms of topic, if not quite style: Our Pesach this year was, in a word, different. For the first time in our married life, Debbie and I took ourselves - and the kids - to a hotel for Pesach.

As I discussed recently, we approached Pesach this year knowing that it just couldn't be business as usual for us. We just felt completely unable to cope with the emotional and - quite frankly - the physical toll we knew it would take. So we ran - to seek an environment that would be at least marginally conducive to helping us push the memories away, and yet not so ludicrously beyond our means as to be out of the question. After a bit of searching, some second thoughts, and a couple of subtle guilt trips from the good old mishpoche we were leaving behind- we cast off for, as the song goes, "Old Cape Cod".

I could write a whole series just about our experiences in the hotel, but for now I'll just say that we definitely succeeded in having a Pesach experience very different from what we are used to - which was kind of the idea. And while I don't think we achieved serenity, it was definitely relaxing, soothing, and re-energizing. We both feel just a bit more able now to face these next two weeks of planned torment.

And that's worth all the money in the world.


At 4/24/06, 10:49 PM, Blogger torontopearl said...

I'm so glad that you and the family managed to "shore up" some emotional/mental/physical strength in the welcome change of scenery of Cape Cod.

At 4/25/06, 5:29 AM, Anonymous trn said...

I recall your having asked in a previous posting why certain happy social events since the death of Aaron z"l seemed more emotionally difficult than events related more directly to death and mourning.

As it was an older post by the time I, new to your site, read it, I did not comment then, but it struck me that perhaps it is made quite obvious to you during normal family outings and simchas that your beloved oldest son is missing ("Why isn't Aaron here?"), while for events taking place specifically because of Aaron's death, it follows that of course he wouldn't be there, so there wouldn't be the dissonance, even though there might still exist incredulity at the situation ("It's difficult to believe I am saying kaddish for my child!").

I explain this now in order to say yasher koach on your decision to go away for Pesach. I think it was excellent that you all found a way to have Pesach in a very different setting, to mitigate the disturbing dissonance between the familiar family event and the new circumstances. I understand that memories from Pesach last year must cause great sadness and that the upcoming anniversaries will be directly difficult, so I am glad that you were able to find a way to have a peaceful, perhaps restorative Pesach, letting in the charoset, the strength and sweetness you need, along with the maror and salt water, because there is only so much of the bitterness and sadness alone that humans can handle.

I hope my good thoughts come across as I intend.

Thank you for all that you share here.

At 4/25/06, 12:03 PM, Blogger Elie said...

Pearl, TRN: Thanks so much for your kind and perceptive comments. It is very true that to a bereaved parents, ostensibly happy family-oriented occasions can be more painful even than events that directly relate to the loss.

Case in point: Debbie and I will be passing on the wedding tomorrow night of the daughter of two of our closest friends. They are not in the least offended and have been nothing but understanding. We thank God every day for friends like these.


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