Saturday, April 2, 2011

I Don't Want to Have Passover This Year

By Susan Esther Barnes

Usually, Passover is one of my favorite holidays. A celebration of freedom, surrounded by matzah, brisket, chopped liver, and four cups of wine - what's not to love?

At some point a few years ago, I told my friend Rose, may her memory be a blessing, that I didn't like my seder plate. This is the special plate we use at Passover, which holds the symbolic Passover foods like an egg, bitter herbs, charoset, etc. I bought it because I needed one, and it was the one I disliked the least.

At the end of 2008, when my husband and I moved into our new home, Rose gave us one of her seder plates as a housewarming gift. Pictured above, it's lovely. I like it much better than my old plate, both because I prefer how it looks, as well as because it's from Rose.

In 2009, after we used Rose's seder plate for our first Passover in our new home, I wrote her a second thank-you note for her gift.

In 2010, when Rose was lying in bed, slowly dying, I thanked her again for the plate. She said she was glad she had given it to me, and to know it would serve as a reminder of her.

I have been saying the Mourner's Kaddish for Rose every week for eight months now. One would think that would be long enough for me to realize the reality and finality of her death. Yet somehow, similar to how her absence at Yom Kippur hit me hard, the thought of celebrating Passover for the first time after her death hurts more than I had expected.

I know it isn't Passover that I don't want. What I don't want - the thing that, like Passover, is inexorably advancing toward me no matter how much I wish I could somehow avoid it - is having to come to terms with the reality of a world without Rose.


  1. Oh, I'm so sorry. We lost my father-in-law last year shortly after Pesach, and this will be the first one without him. It's going to be very hard. But then, so is all change.

  2. Tzipporah -
    Ha'makom yenahem etkhem betokh she'ar avelei Tziyonvi'Yerushalayim - May God console you among the other mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.