A year ago, you were here, you both were here. A year ago, life was normal, comfortable, safe. I was in Petra, enjoying life, taking in the beauty of the world, amazed by the wonders of God’s creations. You were in Detroit, celebrating your birthday, your anniversary, your life. Little did we all know within a matter of months, this life would be different.
This year, I prepare for Passover without you, without your support, energy, enthusiasm. This year, my passover cleaning is more about cleaning out the emotions, taking stock of how I feel, and the space you filled is ever more present.
Spring is about renewal, rebirth, and all I can do is remember. Remember what was, what I miss, what will never be again. I remember years past, years of love, happiness, joy, laughter. This year, there will be no birthday phone call to you, daddy. This year, there will be no anniversary call to papa. This year, I am here, last year, I was in Jerusalem. Last year, you prayed we would be together again, you asked on God’s will to lead a seder with me again. This year, we know this will never be the reality. While I will carry you in my heart, you will be there, you won’t be there for a panicked moment before the seder to remind me of the kiddush nusach, you won’t be there to argue with, to smile with my learning, to guide me. This year, when you tell your child on that day, you won’t be there to tell me, you won’t be there to bargain with for the afikomen.
This year, my rebirth is as a new person, a daddy’s girl learning to live without her daddy. This year, we remember not only our going out from Egypt, but the loss of another generation at our seder table. This year, we welcome in, not only Elijah, and all who are hungry, this year we welcome in the spirit, and memory of another generation who has returned to the dust of the earth. This spring, the regrowth isn’t just within nature, it is within ourselves, the healing of a broken heart.
This year, I am a slave to memory, a slave to mourning, a slave to my heart. This year, I go out from my own slavery, into the world anew, a world I don’t know. I am a slave going into freedom, I am experiencing an exodus. I am scared, sad, confused and afraid…