In 2011 I visited Dachau Death Camp. I was backpacking through Europe with no phone, no internet, nearly no food or money, severely depressed and with a partner who was unable to offer emotional support. This experience brought me so much that I expect it will take me a lifetime to unpack it. Here is where it’s brought me today.
I walked into the furnace and felt nothing.
Not the absence of anything, just the fullness of nothing.
I tried to stretch and absorb empathy from the walls – they’d been there, they’d seen it. They’d felt the heat and heard the screams. They knew what the mind went through at the moment of release.
…but there was nothing and no one to receive it.
They showed us photos of bodies piled to the ceiling in the room that we were standing in.
What separated me from them, what separated now from then?
The veils of time were thick.
I wanted to cry… so badly. I wanted to release by choice what they released by force.
I wanted to choose to feel again. I wanted to bring choice to that space.
I wanted to choose to honor them.
I wanted to sleep, I wanted to give up. I thought of them and how they never gave up.
I was starving and I wanted a fucking sandwich. I thought of them and how they never got a fucking sandwich.
I was dying and I felt as dead as them.
But I was not dead… there is an unmistakable feeling to life and it was in me – the awareness of nothing was enough.
I gathered my broken pieces and I took them home.
A home I wasn’t sure I’d reach again… a home they didn’t.
And now as I sit in comfort and the nothingness that I was has turned into everything that I ask for, I ask:
What message do you have for me, I am humbled by your discourse.
And I receive;
“We were black and white and Gypsy, Jewish, Muslim, Christian. We loved men and we loved women and we loved people and we loved our families and we loved each other and we were loved and we died for love. They say we died for hate but we died for love. We didn’t die for nothing we died for love. Live for love.”