【明報專訊】When Edith Eger got shuffled onto a cattle cart at the age of sixteen along with her family, little did she know what lay ahead. The cart was packed with Jews sitting shoulder to shoulder, sharing one bucket of water and one for waste. They tottered on end, eventually reaching a brick factory where Edith's parents were separated into a different line from their children.
''You will see your mother soon,'' Edith was told. Hours later, she learnt that her parents were killed in the infamous gas chamber, their body burning where the smoke of the chimney rose. She was made to dance and entertain Josef Mengele, also known as the merciless Angel of Death, who murdered thousands of Jews. She danced to survive.
From then on, Edith and her sister endured months of dehumanising labour and torture in various death camps. When WWII was over, the sisters were sent back to their hometown where among the 15000 Jews deported, only 70 returned. Edith became one of the holocaust survivors who have lived through one of man's worst sins in history.
To undermine the trauma caused by this tragedy would be unjust. But Edith turned the trauma into a lifelong reflection about healing. At the age of 89, she wrote an international best-seller called The Choice: Embrace the Possible, outlining her experiences in the death camps with great lucidity and humour. It was followed by a powerful sequel, The Gift: 12 Lessons to Save Your Life, in which she identified 12 common ''mental prisons'' that her clients usually fall prey to, including avoidance, rigidity, fear etc. Through her narratives, readers decipher the complex emotions that individuals encounter on any ordinary day, and are encouraged to work through their limitations.
If you are daunted by her rare experience and colossal courage, don't. In her kind words, she preaches: there is no hierarchy of suffering. Do not judge yourself for feeling horrible for what seems trivial when compared to the holocaust Give this convivial lady and her words of wisdom a read. It may well be the key you need.
Mona C. has a strong appetite for stories. Feed her enough.
(Email : email@example.com)