Sugar Coating the Holidays

Sugar Coating the Holidays

Sharsheret’s Senior Advisor, Shera Dubitsky, MEd, MA

From the time we are little, we look forward to dipping the apple in the honey on Rosh Hashanah. Why an apple? There are several sources that suggest that over the course of Jewish history the apple represented the tenacity of Jewish spirit and determination. And the honey? Honey is the symbolism of our desire for a sweet New Year. Sweet meaning precious, enjoyable, peaceful, and protected. The combination of the apple and the honey makes for quite a meaningful tradition… most of the time.

For those of you who are facing challenges and adversity, connecting with tenacity and determination, particularly around the holidays, may be difficult. No manner of sugar coating, or in this case, honey coating your experience feels attainable. Having to shop and prepare meals for the holiday may be overwhelming, and the thought of having to delegate is another reminder of the impact of cancer. Sitting in synagogue reading the prayer “Who shall live and who shall die?” is a trigger for many of you who are living with and surviving a cancer diagnosis. Putting on a happy face when surrounded by friends and family when you are feeling fatigue, stress, and fear takes a lot of energy.

Perhaps this is the time to reframe this tradition, to not only see this practice for what you want for the New Year, but rather as a reminder of everything you hold precious, enjoyable, serene, and secure that cancer and treatment can never touch. As one Sharsheret caller shared, “Even though I can’t keep cancer from invading my body, one thing I have come to realize is this: Cancer can’t touch my soul.”  Your strength and resolve are tested beyond any limits you thought you had, and then beyond that. Allow both tears and laughter to flow equally and freely, as they both have the potential to cleanse and renew your spirit and determination.

Wishing you all a sweet and healthy New Year.