First of all, let me say that my family is kind of weird, okay? We’re mostly pretty quiet, but we can be really silly and dissolve into contagious bouts of giggles over not much at all. Sometimes, maybe lots of times, we’re sarcastic and smart-assed and laugh at odd things.
During all this moving around and cleaning-out process we’ve been going through lately as my mom moved in with me, we came across a joke book.
One of my daughters had given it to my dad a few years back at Christmas. He loved hearing us read the silly jokes and we’d all start laughing before we even finished them. I really treasure those times when we all just laugh ourselves to tears. We feel so close.
On Thursday morning, before my dad died three days later on Easter Sunday, my mom, daughters, son-in-law, and I gathered in his hospital room when they took him off the ventilator. We stayed with him off and on until nature took its course, coming home only late at night to grab a bit of rest and change clothes, assured that if something changed we would be called immediately. But that Thursday one or both of my daughters, I’m not sure who, had the great insight to bring that silly joke book to the hospital with them, and we read jokes out loud and laughed ridiculously as my dad lay in his bed (I know, some people would think that’s so disrespectful, but it didn’t seem that way to us). It was good for us and I hope for him. We held his hand; we rubbed his forehead or his arm; we laid our heads beside him on the bed. I want to believe, though I don’t know for sure, that some part of him heard us, maybe not the words, but the laughter, the closeness of his family around him, knowing he was loved and safe and that it was okay. Our laughter was mixed with tears, and eventually for awhile the tears took over before we could laugh easily and with abandon again. It’s a precious memory. It is said that laughter is the best medicine; I don’t know about that, but I do know that it helped me through the most difficult and saddest time of my life.
Copyright (c) 2012 by Raindrop Ridge Press