Dreaming Differently Than the President

Saying goodbye to all the meaningful and festive celebrations of December--which included family and friends from far and near whom I rarely see--was not easy.  But my heart was full. And thank goodness I had a bit of reserve because January of 2017 has been grueling. Every day leading up to and since the inauguration of 45 has been an increasingly intense assault on my heart and mind. The only thing that got me through January 20 was the knowledge that I was going to march the next day. Participating in the Women’s March with my husband, daughter, grandson and granddaughter and approximately 90,000 other people in St Paul and 4.5 million worldwide, was a truly uplifting experience.

Shortly before Jan 21, my daughter’s dog died. Maggie was a devoted friend and loving teacher whom I adored.

Shortly after Jan 21, Larry’s father died. My father-in-law, Jack Sutin, along with his wife Rochelle, were Jewish resistance fighters during the Holocaust. Their story told in their words and edited by Larry became the book Jack and Rochelle: A Holocaust Story of Love and Resistance. Jack died peacefully during an afternoon nap of natural causes after a long and more peaceful life after emigrating to the US with Rochelle and their first child, who was born in the displaced persons camp while awaiting clearance. He lived surrounded by his beloved wife, 2 children, friends and built a fulfilling business after having arrived with no English, money or post-secondary education.

Of course all of the eulogies, obits, news articles and many of the memories we shared in conversation were about the Holocaust and the bravery these two people showed, along with their fellow partisans, and the atrocities and losses of their families they endured.  As the horrific effects of religious persecution, prejudice, hate, the inciting of divisions and the mandating of registries were described and the courage of resistance was praised, I was torn between staying present in the moment to honor and remember my very specific in-laws--parents of my husband, grandparents to Sarah--and feeling my nerves jangle with alarms caused by the current events raging outside the walls. Parallels one would have to be blind to miss.

What can I do?

I can write this.

I can be kind, listen and watch, lend a hand, make an erasure page.

I have learned that, when my heart is breaking, I need to love even more.

Mab Nulty