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.


Thomas Forsyth said...

::hugs:: I understand about your step-mother's conditiosn, especially with my father's cancer, but she had no right to snap at you like that. I also think that was very mean of your grandmother. You are no house, just huggable.

Certainly you are luckier than most, but I feel you got ripped off this week. I also don't get the real family and real dinner jab, either. Sometime before I'm 40, I hope to host a seder and you are definitely invited.

Puneet Madaan said...

come on Thomas,
we are Humans, we all are governed by basic things like ego and selfishness..I also utter things against Muslims after any terror attack, but it never means i hate all Muslim.

Many Peoples are governed by religious ego, which had contributed in Islamic terrorism. Nazis were governed by National egoism and peoples are governed by Personal egoism. For sure, egoism is necessary for personal development, but setting limit for a ego ideology is must. and this is what everything is all about.

for us the frame is humanity, but it also does not mean to surrender. and for others(like Gandhi) it means surrender. and for many others it means fight.

in my personal view, I will say.. we are in a phase of translation... where we have to stand strong to not only accept our failures, but also have to promote others to accept their failures and mistakes. we have to do this because surrender makes a community, where big fish eat small. In fight we have maximum human causality, and i support something in between... where we have minimum causalities but birth of community which respect and love each other.

In case of RT mother, things are similar but far more complex. u can dig in heart of a community or organization, but not inside heart of a person. feelings of her mother got hurt in past, but she never spoke. If now she was speaking next to RT, then its good. think it like she is uttering the hate stored inside her for a long time. it will make the heart pure, and in this translation RT had to play a big role. she had to take every step very carefully, that how she had to move up.As her steps will bind the family.

RT must help her Step-mom, but also had to try to remove the bitterness from her mothers heart. this is how life goes, one don't have to live in history, but have to learn from history and make future better.

Mr. Smarterthanyou said...

Where in your story is the meat behind "so lucky to be born jewish.."?

You have a nagging jewish granmother who stuffs your face then tells you to lose weight, your parents are divorced, your dad is a jew who rejects the idea of god, who married a catholic who sounds really confused, and you seem to have spent the weekend in a spiritual no-man's land because of it. From their example (possibly), you wound up an athiest jew who tries to have the trappings of judaism but not the religious basis for it? I cannot understand a mentally/emotionally healthy person being grateful for that.

Red Tulips said...


Perhaps you missed the part where I wrote that I feel lucky to not have been born in Somalia, to Islamic fundie parents? That I really cannot complain as I was born privileged, and in America?

And moreover, my grandmother, for all her nagging, honestly does love me. She has helped me a great deal, means well, but simply doesn't realize she comes across as a bull in a china shop.

Anyway, all of just has made me feel more Jewish. Not having a seder but having an Easter dinner...

It makes me feel even MORE proud to be a Jew. I cannot explain why, but on Easter, I whispered to myself a prayer for a glass of wine and drank a glass of kosher bordeaux.

Not being able to have a proper seder only made me YEARN for a seder. It made me appreciate my roots all the more.


My stepmom never apologized for the incredibly hurtful thing she said, BUUUUUT...

It's okay, I forgive her. I was playing with my stepmom's little grandniece most of the night. She is a very special little (three year old) girl, and she reinforces my faith in humanity. It is through her and her utter innocence and sense of wonder at the world, that I does have meaning and purpose.

Red Tulips said...

P.S., Smarty...

How dare YOU judge what is mentally and emotionally sane?

Talk about utterly disgusting hypocrisy.

Adil said...


I totally agree with Thomas. You have friends, and you're not going to be left, nay allowed, to cope with life's missives on your own. Not only are you a hero to me, I'm very lucky to count you as a dear friend.


Red Tulips was very civil in her reply to you because, unlike you, she is a good person.

You write: "I cannot understand a mentally/emotionally healthy person being grateful for that."

Pot. Kettle. Black.

Oh, and to which I'll add:

Pathetic. Little. Creep.

Yes. That's you. Go discuss it with your shrink if you don't get it.

Red Tulips said...

Adil, you are MY hero! LOL, aren't we a saccharine bunch?

Red Tulips said...

Smarty, you have emotional problems and will be banned until you decide to have simple human decency.

Bye bye.

ratherdashing said...

This thread is like family. It apparently has people that are comfortable enough and familiar enough to hurt the one's they know.

Red Tulips said...


Smarty is not family. He also doesn't get the basic gist of what I was writing, which is that despite all the nonsense, I feel blessed to be born in a free country as a free woman, well off, with a good head on my shoulders.

He doesn't get it, because he is spoiling for a fight, and because he is dead inside.

That's okay. When he decides to become a human being, rather than the village idiot, he is allowed back.

Thomas Forsyth said...

Puneet> Perhaps I am too harsh on RT's family, but as I see it, a good friend has been hurt, and I get upset when my friends are hurt.

RT> This is your first banning, but I don't blame you at all. He's not just a troll, but a special troll that takes the slow troll bus:)

Mr. Smarterthanyou said...

You know, village idiots actually have to be stupid, like those people who constantly shoot themselves in the foot and then act suprised that it hurts. Like supporting democrats and being suprised that they promote PC stupidity, or function as useful idiots, or turn against jews.

Red Tulips said...

I am leaving this ludicrous post of Smarty's to make a point...

I have very tepidly supported Dems in the past, and even have shown support for Repubs.

I even said that I personally voted Libertarian. But no, you see Smarty has to just issue invectives, shouting like a red faced buffoon, without reason, just resorting to hate...because he is a hater.

Even if I voted for Dems, that hardly would mean supporting all of their policies.

None of this matters. It's all hate, all the time.