One of the ways that I wish American’s talked about death differently is the way we have trouble acknowledging funny moments that happen when we keep seeing the grim reaper out of the corner of our eyes.
When John was 31 and living in a different town with a surgically implanted rolling suitcase / *heart* he lived in an apartment complex. The town didn’t have a large college community, but this was the kind of apartment complex where 19 year old women moved to prove to their mothers that they TOTALLY had their shit together. He had a thing for 19 year olds. There was a swimming pool. He came to sit by the side of the pool late in the summer while I splashed around and he ogled the women with tans so well established that you could be pretty sure they weren’t working 9-5. I told him in absolute seriousness that if he (with his life support device and epic amount of antidepressants) could talk any of these women into bed that he had total freedom to do that. For the next woman walking past, “hey there.”
Later, when his body was lingering and his mind had left, his mom requested the last rights (rites?). The Haitian priest was surprised when none of knew the holler’backs. His family had left the church 30 years earlier and I had been in a Catholic church maybe once in my life. Instead of holler’backs we were trying not to giggle.
My mom sent a typo to me via text today. For a woman whose husband is in hospice, and during the Halloween season nobody would have believed it had they seen in on Damn You AutoCorrect.
Dad’s true voice showed up yesterday to announce an absurd sentence.
The reality can be that ultimately we bring who we are to every situation we are in. Sometimes, especially around those we love, we are funny. We mean to be sometimes, and it happens accidentally some times. Even in sad times, there will be someone who wants to crack a joke to break the tension. That is ok.
Here is my promise to you, if you ever want to tell the story of a funny thing during a sad time – I’d love to hear it. Laughter through tears is amazing.