Sunday, April 8, 2007
Passover and Easter with cancer
Hello all, I thought I would share a story about Passover and Easter with my family. But before I do, I should give a bit of a back story. My dad and mom are divorced, and my dad remarried to a Catholic woman whose prior husband coincidentally was Jewish. (he died) Her own beliefs are a mix of Catholicism, Judaism, and agnosticism. My dad is an agnostic Jew. Anyway. So Monday of last week was the first night of Passover - first seder. I decided to go to my dad's house for first seder, because I wanted to be there for my dad, since my stepmom has cancer that appears to be incurable. My grandma (dad's mom), her boyfriend (oh yes, she has a boyfriend!), and aunt picked me up at my apartment for the drive out to Long Island. I should say I was hacking up a storm the whole way, because I had a very bad cold. I even purchased surgical masks, so I would not get my stepmom sick. Along the way, we passed an Italian ices store, and picked up the ices for desert. I was of course criticized for even mentioning ices, as I shouldn't want desert, evidently, because I am a house. (of course I was also was asked if I wanted ices, after they should I shouldn't even LOOK at desert!) I also purchased the seder plate for the seder. My grandma cooked her bland chicken matzoh ball soup. We got to the house (my dad's house), and I ended up sitting there with my grandma, her boyfriend, and my aunt. We were waiting for my dad and stepmom to get back from chemo treatment. I was sitting there, getting hungry, and then got a phone call that my dad and stepmom won't get home until 7:30 pm or later. Meanwhile, my grandma was going on and on and on about my weight. Okay I get it - I have to lose weight. But again - not housely. And it made the entire time just unbearable. Then my grandma's boyfriend got to the point where he had to drive back home - as he is old and a not-so-great driver. So my grandma heated up the matzoh ball soup, while I was downstairs, stewing, chatting with Adil. I had lost all my appetite. My grandma came downstairs and said "You have to eat, too!" She admonished me to eat. So...I ended up eating matzoh ball (bland) soup, with the whole chicken and whole (unchopped u)p vegetables in the soup, with grandma, her boyfriend, and aunt. I also smeared some charoset on matzoh, drank two glasses of wine, said a prayer...and then left. NO seder. Hacking up a storm the whole time. Miserable when I got home. I also missed work for this. THEN... I came over today, for Easter dinner. Oh yes, my dad is having an Easter dinner, though never had a seder. I guess this shows you how secular my family has become. But anyway, I hold no grudges about this. I have decided to just grin and bear this all. But I have remained kosher for Passover all week long. I guess what had me mildly upset was when I asked my stepmom if she wanted some matzoh brei I was going to cook, and she yelled at me about it. Saying it was rude to even think about cooking. Then she apologized, only to say that on Easter I should "observe how a REAL family has a REAL dinner." But instead of getting completely outraged by this...I decided that I should be grateful. Grateful that my stepmom is somehow, miraculously, getting better. Against all medical projections. Perhaps it's the prayer, I don't know. I think it's just the determination to live. "He who has a why to live can withstand almost any HOW." - Nietsche In any case...I should not even complaining. I guess where I am going with all this is that I have realized how lucky I am. I am so exceedingly lucky to be born Jewish and be born in America. I could have been born in Somalia, as Ayaan Hirsi Ali was. I could have been many things. But I am not. So during this holiday season...think about the daily miracle of life. We are alive. We have our minds, our health, our spirit. So many things to be thankful for. We go through the daily bull caca of life...but in the end it's all worth it. I think it's all worth it.