July 1, 2012

Laugh To Keep From Crying


The dreaded birthday was just another day, mostly.  We spent it at the swim club with friends, and I didn’t tell the kids it was his birthday.  I just couldn’t.  I just can’t deal with it.  And I don’t feel like making them deal with it either.  People have great ideas about what you should do to honor the dead person’s birthday.  Maybe one day we’ll be able to honor him.  Right now, all I can say about being honorable is that I haven’t kicked his grave in quite some time. 

We had a party here today with my family.  I finally decided yesterday that the absurdity must come to an end, and I discarded the dead plants that have been in the pots on my front stairs for probably 3 months.  Anyone who knows me knows how outlandish this is….me, with dead plants.  I’ve been known to landscape people’s houses when they’re on vacation.  I pull weeds in people’s yards while I’m standing there talking to them.  I pull over and tell neighbors that what they’ve just planted is going to die where they planted it, from too much sun.  I never have dead plants.  I always have pots with beautiful flowers spilling over the sides.  Except lately.  I swear I am just too busy.  I have zero time for extra stuff.  Zero additional energy.  I replanted the pots with lively flowers and finally painted the downstairs bathroom.  Painters are extremely underrated.  I say that every time I paint, especially when I step back into the tray and flip it slightly over.  My painter could paint my whole house without a drop cloth if he wanted. 

Certain members of my close family brought ‘new people’ to the party today.  As in new people they are dating.  Which meant that yesterday, there was a definite uptick in the usual but always humorous array of family texting.  Not much slides past this group.  A sense of humor is definitely required.  We judge one another harshly and openly, but all out of intense love.  It’s just how we roll.  We cannot gather without mocking and teasing.  If we haven’t seen one another in a while, mocking videos may be exchanged to hold us over.  With new ears joining the fray, some were almost giddy with excitement.  Luckily the new people scored 10’s from everyone today.  One person got extra points for being somewhat famous.  Hopefully we weren’t too frightening for them.  It's amusing to see the competitiveness at play here too. Picking teams for a simple game of whiffle ball can take 20 minutes, because each person must be certain their team will win.  At Easter, I had to play barefoot because I had worn heels, and I swear the bottom of my feet were almost bleeding.  My dad, who has had heart surgery, was completely winded and scaring us, but still sliding home and knocking over 10 year olds.  We never stopped laughing or trash talking the whole time.  Today was no different.

My family is the type who can find some way to laugh, even at funerals.  Of course I did not laugh at all during Dave’s funeral, and I’m pretty sure none of them did either.  I will kick their asses if they did.   Someone reminded me that my sister was in the back of the church saying she was about to saw the fucking casket in half.  Other people probably laughed at that, I doubt she did.  We did have a lot of inappropriate laughter afterwards.  Of course, everyone wanted to know about the robbery.  When we started telling the story and acting it out for the first time, we were overcome with laughter due to the utter insanity of it all.  That morning we had literally said goodbye to the police, raced to get everyone dressed, and then drove straight to the church.  No time for de-escalation, we were almost late for the funeral.  People unaware of the situation must have thought we were nuts, although I think most people knew as the news spread like wildfire.  The church that morning was a distraught mob of people whispering intently and crying hysterically and mostly just trying to figure out if it were all some crazy dream.  Rumors were rampant.  People were just stunned.  We were most definitely as fucking crazy as people could honestly get.  Ever.  I think back to that morning, and I have no idea how I survived.  It wasn’t pretty.  Surely that didn’t happen to me.  It’s just so surreal.  All of it.  I swear if I don’t laugh, I’ll surely die.


10 comments:

  1. My grandfather was one of those people who could find humor in anything...even funerals. He taught me to find humor in any situation. Laughing is truly the best medicine. I totally agree that there are times when if you don't laugh you'll surely die. I'm so glad you got to laugh with your family this weekend, you deserve to enjoy life! Thank you for writing this blog, by the way! It has really helped me to appreciate what I have and to realize that I, too, can survive anything that life throws at me. I admire your strength!

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  2. I love inappropriate humour. Just the fact that it *shouldn't* be there makes it even funnier. I have a lovely black streak of humour I won't squash for anyone, no matter how frowny they get at me. I don't actually remember this one, but my mum told me that when were were planning my Dad's funeral, which was being held on 4 July in Australia, I jokingly suggested theme-ing it American style. I was still in shock and so jet-lagged I could barely remember my name, but that she still laughs about it 9 years later is good. Lucky his funeral wasn't on May the Fourth, is all I can say, or I would have suggested the Star Wars thing.

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  3. If you can't find the humor in things, then life is no fun. It helps you get through the rough stuff. Your body knows what you need. If it's laughter, then by all means, laugh!

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  4. Missed you, glad to see you back, glad you survived one of those milestone dates!! I tried to create a diversion so the day would pass but ended up having a terrible day, one of the worst of my personal record!! I see no need in marking the day for the boys, why remind them especially if they wake up happy they have enough "missing him" day to day they don't need a freight train to run them over and remind them!

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  5. Sorry, I tried to find the study for you but couldn't find it. I'd read about a study years ago where they found that there was a correlation between what we found funny/how hard we laughed and our emotional well-being. They found that things you normally wouldn't laugh at or wouldn't laugh as hard at were suddenly hysterically funny when we were in emotional pain and needed to laugh. I found this a lot when I lost my husband, I felt like the worst wife in the world for laughing at anything, let alone guffawing like a crazy woman. But I remembered reading that and realized it was just my way of handling it or else I'd probably spontaneously combust. Kind of a tangent, but I thought you might appreciate it. 12 days and counting 'til the "anniversary" of my husband's death. I'll be mentally holding your hand during your anniversary, I'd like to think you'll be backing me up for mine. Sorry, I just need to borrow your strength/badassery for the day.

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  6. So I read of a study once that talked about the correlation between laughter and pain. It noticed things we might not normally find funny or as funny were hysterical when we were suffering some emotional pain. This really came in handy for me to remember when I lost my husband because I felt like the worst wife ever for literally crying from laughing too hard at silly things. But I realized it was either that or spontaneously combust. I just NEEDED to laugh. Kind of a tangent, but I thought you'd appreciate that. 12 days and counting 'til the first "anniversary" of the day I lost my husband. I'll be mentally holding your hand for yours and hopefully pulling from your strength and badassery for mine. Thank you as always for saying what I can't even begin to articulate even in my own head.

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  7. I just read your entire blog in one sitting...unbelievable. I give you so much credit for surviving all of that and still being able to laugh every now and then. I imagine that I would be locked up in a padded room somewhere. Looking forward to reading more! Oh yeah, and I laughed once at a wake. Not sure if that's worse or not.

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  8. That last line just made me spit water on my phone. I'm a twat too. But I haven't mastered it yet.

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  9. Hello perfect stranger & thank you for your blog. My cousin does a fummy mom blog that I read weekly (werdyab) so I though if hers was this funny I should read the #1. I'm glad I did.

    I'm 30, my husband and I have been married two years this month & we have a six month old. That's where the good news ends. In April he was diagnosed with stage 4 liver cancer. We are fighting for his life & the odds are stacked against us - but we are fighting that much harder for that very reason. (he will be 43 later this month)

    To make a long story longer I can't go to support groups because I have no time or energy. And I can't sit around and here people in their 60 and 70 that had full lives with their spouse - I am sure that's devistating - but it's not same.

    Your story is the only thing as hard (or maybe harder) as what I'm facing. I appreciate your honesty, humor & please know you are helping a lot of people by showing life can go on throgh a catastrophe.

    -Stranger in az

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  10. I totally understand the need to share with us strangers, it gets us through the day and makes us feel so much less alone. I have not been nearly through what you are dealing with, but I have my own shadows that follow me around, through and within. We laugh, we cry and we write - then eventually we move on. You, my fellow twat, have resilience...carry on...here's my blog if you're bored in the middle of the night. httP://www.stretchingmylimits.com - Peace and Love being sent your direction :)

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