Sari Ellen
Sari Ellen
Novelist

Chag Sameach Passover: The ache and the joy

Survivor, Israeli Negev, Photo Credit: Sari Ellen 2019

Lockdown in a sunless micro-studio ain’t my cuppa tea. I gained ten pounds and lost a year. But, hey, most of us lost a year. And 2.77 million lost their lives because of COVID 19. Those of us who’re still here, we’re the lucky ones.
Still, we’ve been through trauma. Last night an old trauma was revealed to me. I found out what happened to one of my grandfathers and his mother in 1935. He’d made the excruciating choice to abandon his very sick mother so his wife and children could escape Nazi Germany. What subsequently happened to his mother is grotesque. I’ll skip the details.

My grandfather kept an illustration of “The Mariner Saved” by Albert Henry Payne, which may have expressed some of what he felt.

There seem to be two generic reactions to trauma. One response is to discuss the trauma without end. The other reaction is silence. I was born into silence. I have lived in silence for a very long time. Silence does not make trauma vanish. Silence can lead to an emotional deep freeze and loneliness the size of all-that-is.

People who don’t talk about trauma also tend not to cry. They usually can’t recognize the pain in themselves. Sometimes the only thing they can acknowledge is the pain in others. And sometimes there’s not even that.

As we celebrate our spring equinox festivals with their symbols of new life — whether we’re visiting the Teotihacan Pyramid of Mexico (said to be an energy portal), in clouds of colorful powder in the Hindu festival of Holi, celebrating the Zoroastrian holiday of Nowruz, dancing in the streets of Thailand for Songkran, retelling the story of exodus from slavery in Egypt integral to the Jewish Seder or we’re staying home because the 2021 Easter Egg Roll traditionally held on the American White House lawn has been cancelled this year…. Let’s recognize that our feelings of suffering and joy, depression and relief are universal. From the Ancient Romans who celebrated the renewal of fertility in their Feast of Cybele to whatever human future takes shape on Mars and beyond… we’re not tempered steel.

Every life… and every moment of every life… is precious.

About the Author
Sari Friedman's short stories appear in the Beloit Fiction Journal, Blue Lake Review, So It Goes, Satirist, Daily Freier, Ilanot Review, Huffpo Canada etc. The first chapter of her (not yet published) novel appears in the November 2020 "Woven Tale Press."
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