Wednesday, October 21, 2009


I dreamt I was in a line of people slowly walking. Somebody pulled me aside and said I was going to be tortured. "Why me?" I asked. "Just because," he answered. He told me they were going to put needles through my eyeballs and do other painful things to me.

I was terrified, but I had no choice about going. Then I figured if I took two Ativan, I could get through it.

This was obviously a cancer dream. You can't fully get over it, although with the passage of time it haunts you less.

Another train of thought got into my head that night. I had just finished reading Anita Diamont's new novel, "Day After Night." She tells the story of four young women refugees from Nazi Europe, who, in 1945, got to Palestine, then ruled by the British. Each woman has suffered terribly, in different ways. They thought they were heading towards a new life of promise, but instead they are locked up in Atlit, a British detention center for illegal immigrants. The novel is based on an actual event, the rescue of more than 200 detainees and their placement in various kibbutzim.

I often have nightmares after reading books or watching TV shows or movies about the Holocaust. Who wouldn't? But maybe the dreams are more intense for descendants of survivors and for those whose relatives died in the Holocaust. In my dreams, I am usually being chased by Nazis. In my dream the other night, I was being herded in a line.

My maternal grandfather was from Germany and had a large family there. He came to the U.S. before trouble started and urged his siblings to join him when the situation worsened for Jews in Germany. They were professors and businessmen, and they said, "Our boys will never hurt us." Of course, their "boys" did hurt them. Many perished in concentration camps, while a few fled to Israel. My grandparents stayed safe in the U.S., where they lived in the New York area and had three children, two girls and a boy. My mother, the middle child, told and retold the stories to my sister and me.

So there I was being pulled out of a line, about to be tortured by needles. It felt pretty raw. When I told Katie, she had a positive interpretation. She focused on my will to survive: In the dream, I accepted the situation and was determined to get through it with help from my good friend Ativan.

It could also be a sign that I should be doing ads for Ativan.


Diane said...

Your will to survive, your positive attitude that you can endure basically anything, and of course a little Ativan. Remember when we had our first meeting w/ Dr. D'Angelo and you asked about getting an Ativan and they said that, yes, they had it in the large size containers... you were not alone in needing a little help to go through everything that was happening.

Today I was at BWH visiting a friend at the front end of what will hopefully be a happy story about facing and surviving cancer. Odd to go there and think back to the days, hours, months I spent there with you. I ran into one of the nurses who took care of you on 6A and she gave me a big hug and said she thinks of you/us often, commenting on what wonderful loving sisters we are, and what a MIRACLE you are. I told her what you've been up to and she said that you weren't just surviving, but were truly living. What a blessing!

William Brock said...

In the camps survival became everything, and cancer can bring us back there. You are a survivor, you are strong, it will never beat you. Take pride in that - it's even better than ativan.

I admire your spirit - if I am ever near your part of the country I would be honored to go for a run with you, short or long.

Keep up the good work.

Nelle said...

I would gladly do FREE commercials for Ativan. I think it is the greatest drug ever. I have a lot of interest in the Halocaust. The man who built my old house was a survivor who escaped the camp as a teen. He told me story after story of the many hardships and heartbreak. His sister was liberated at the end but he lost his mother and brother. I still want to go to the Halocaust Museum in Washington one day.

Daria said...

I struggle with nightmares too ... I feel for you.

Korby said...

I love Katie's interpretation!

PJ said...

Ronnie, maybe you should stick to Bye Bye Birdie before bed.

Trish said...

I think reading Anita's book before bed is not such a good idea! Dr Suess "Sam I am" a better choice?

Tho, I have to admit...we've had Anita's book for a bit and had to flip a coin as to who got to read it first...for the reasons you illustrated, I haven't been able to pick up the book--tho I lost the coin flip...and I haven't had the heart to tell Anita.

Most Jews, even those with lesser connections to the Shoah have nightmares after readings books such as this.

With three possible connections--the book, family and cancer---can't imagine why you'd be stressed and need some ativan ;-)...take another few and sleep some more!

I do have to agree with Katie---it IS positive---you're a survivor and despite some pretty scary possibilities, you can make it---even if it is another shoah---of whatever kind, or just a book about an old shoah.

breathe. be confident. go smack a few tennis balls around to work off the stress.