Laughing Through Grief
I love to laugh and I love to hear other people laugh. My individual laugh is the high pitched kind. The kind you either hear and want to run away screaming from or the kind that makes you want to laugh along. Lately, I find myself laughing through grief
When I was in college and saw Jim Carey in Liar, Liar for the first time, I laughed so hard in the theater, I humiliated my date. Even a few months ago, my sister and I went to watch Sisters, with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. I was crying and having trouble breathing I was laughing so hard. At one point, my sister, tapped my leg and hissed “you are laughing SO loud.”
I also have this really silly habit when I laugh, the kind people make fun of you and your kids constantly point out. The problem is that can I crack myself up. There are times I cannot finish telling a joke or a story because I am laughing too hard. Often times this leads to me snorting or tears flowing so hard, I can no longer see.
Other times, all of those things happen at the same time.
I always thought it would be magical to have drinks with Dana Carvey if he was impersonating George Bush or Jim Carey, but only if he was doing his Lincoln commercial impersonations of Matthew McConaughey. If you’ve never seen Jim’s spin on the Lincoln commercials, stop right now and go here. You’re welcome.
My dad and brother were entirely different. They could tell stories and jokes without ever cracking a smile. Naturally born story tellers, they could have an entire room doubled over in minutes. They were also impossible jokesters.
Like, the year my brother forgot to buy my mom flowers or even call her for her birthday. He was coming off a job driving a truck and I called to remind him. “Damnit sis. I forgot. I’ll be home tomorrow. I’ll make sure to get her something.”
She called me later the next day to describe my brother’s “gift” to her. He had been driving home and somewhere in Texas, when he spotted a grave marker wreath with a ribbon emblazoned with “mom” across the front, left on the side of the road. What did he do? Took it home and gave it to my mom.
She wanted so bad to be pissed off at him, but she just couldn’t do it. She could be mad at my sister and I though because neither of us could stop laughing when she called to tell us the story. It’s one of my favorite pranks he pulled.
It’s been two years since my Dad and my brother stepped inside Heaven less than four months apart. I thought that grief would be easier and I would have accepted it by now. I haven’t. I never will accept that a chunk of my soul is missing. How could I ever accept those facts?
What I am the most thankful for these days is the laughter. So many times during a day, things both of them use to say or stories about them will come into my mind and I just smile.
Some of those stories, I try to convey to my kids. Sometimes, I cannot even get the words out.
Like this weekend, the four of us were snuggled in our big bed. Soccer had been cancelled because of the rain and we were loving sleeping in and watching TV together (why don’t we do more of that by the way?). A commercial came on that reminded me of something stupid my Dad use to say.
I started laughing and when the kids asked me why, I tried to explain it. First came the words, then the tears and then the snort laugh. I was doubled over and couldn’t finish telling the story. My kids just stared and finally my daughter started laughing with me.
Finally, she said “Mom, I get it. This is one of those Papa Clay things, isn’t it?”
“Yes, my darling. Yes, it is.”
Do you have any storying about laughing through grief? I’d love to have you share them with me.