I applaud you for always looking on the bright side of life. After what you have been through, I’m sure it might have been easier to let your grief rule the day. But you and Ron chose to lead your other sons in joy. Wondered how you handled the reminders of the Nazi horrors against the Jews in WWII. Did you avoid the German Holocaust memorials and museums on your trip, or did you go through them? Did your kids understand? How did they handle it?
Dear Bright Side, Can you ever measure grief? I always thought the word “Holocaust” meant mass extermination. But the Greek Word holokaustos, actually means ‘burnt whole.” The knowledge that millions of lives were purposely ended is shattering. Ron and I will never be able to run away from the visions of our own personal holocaust when fire took our seven-year old Ryan from us.
We cannot change the past anymore than Germany can change the horrors that happened in the streets and concentration camps throughout Europe in the 1930’s and 40’s. But there are choices that have to be made: When the past seems to hold a curse, look to the future. Ron and I intentionally chose to introduce our boys to the world and her history, not trying to water it down for our sons’ ears. But we tried to look beyond the horrors in the remnants of Hiroshima Japan, Auschwitz Poland and other Nazi Concentration camps, and in huge numbers who were killed in the name of communism.
The truth lies in the overwhelming courage it took for the survivors to continue forward in life and beauty.
We walked through the ghostly concentration camps and war memorials as a family – but each of us were silently processing our thoughts. With the museums, after consulting with the guides, we chose to censure the most graphic museum images for our 8 and 10 year old by scanning ahead and steering them away from the more gruesome images. But we felt Tyler, at 14, was old enough to handle the complete truth and he viewed freely. Those who remain alive today to tell the story were children then! At the end of the day we were each left with the same theme: Hope and courage.
The Germans have found a way to honor those taken, and find beauty and resolve shining through future generations. Ron and I share our enthusiasm for life with our boys while still honoring the short but vibrant life of our firstborn, Ryan.
Our cameraman takes a shot most memorable to our family at the ‘Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe’
I guess you never appreciate the light until you’ve seen how absolutely dark darkness can be.
Have a wonderful weekend!