A few months back, I was working on the book and became so terrified that I had to stop. I hadn’t realized how hard it would be to confront an atrocity that my loved one had personally experienced. I hadn’t realized how deeply it would hurt to read my great uncle’s testimonies over and over again and get so deeply absorbed into them.

I couldn’t function for a time. I was plagued with irrational anxieties. I closed the curtains. I hid. This was not just introversion; it was debilitating fear.

I got better, but I still didn’t approach the book. I feared the fear would return.

But yesterday, I began writing again.

We’re under lockdown, ordered to stay home to stem the spread of the corona virus. No more than a few cars pass by, headed for the grocery store or hospital. No one is going to come knocking at the door. Maybe knowing this allays my fears. Maybe the isolation helps. Maybe it’s a relief. Perhaps the lack of social input has freed up some emotional energy. Maybe, simply, the time has come to begin again. A bell rang, and it was time.

I don’t know. But the good thing is that I’m working again, this time starting from the end of the book. From the ending, I’ll move backward, approaching the hard parts carefully, knowing that, in the end, Uncle Steve prevailed.

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My Great Uncle Stefan
My Great Uncle Stefan