Last night I took my father to the choir's seder. It is a nice, varied bunch, which has met for the last two Passovers to celebrate the holiday and our years together. We hire our own caterer and meet at the recreation center at one of our member's housing complex, which is spacious enough for everyone and has a fully equipped kitchen.
I took my dad, who wanted desperately to get away from the house, even if it meant waiting for hours to eat the meal that beckoned from the kitchen while we carried on our service.
A seder, for those who do not know, is a ritual meal that celebrates the exodus of the Israelites out of Egypt. Everything in the meal has a symbolic part in that story. It is an ideal holiday for someone like me, who is essentially a storyteller in one form or another because that's what the holiday's purpose is: to tell the story to each new generation, to remind everyone that we were once slaves, so have to keep in mind this reality still exists for others, and work to free them and to keep ourselves free of "the narrow place" (the literal meaning of "Egypt") in our lives, all those things that make us less than free.
Jesus' last supper was a seder, for those of you from another tradition, so it isn't foreign to Christianity either. I have indeed been to many Catholic seders over the years as well, and helped them to get the details right.
In any case, my dad loved it--the company of others he did not know well, the wonderful food, the novelty. He was so pleased to be there.
I didn't take my mother because it seemed pointless. She cannot hear, doesn't interact with others, frets constantly if it is getting late (anything past 5 PM is late for her), and has to go to the bathroom, which is difficult and takes perhaps 15 minutes each time, several times an outing. She can barely walk, and must be fed. I couldn't pay attention to the seder or enjoy it at all with her there. Perhaps it was selfish for me to have left her home, but my dad says she is out cold about half an hour after supper, and stays asleep all night. She doesn't even want to go to the Center anymore.
It was a bittersweet evening because she wasn't there, because I left her. Was I being realistic or selfish? Perhaps a bit of each.