Humor and Grief & Loss

I just returned from a funeral where I experienced first hand how even a tiny dose of humor can make a huge step towards healing and health. Smiles and laughter CAN make things better.

During the funeral service for a wonderful woman who died WAY too early. The entire “audience” of 300 found themselves somewhere between sadness and total utter sobbing. (Me… I was balling.)

When the son of the woman who died spoke about his mom he made a joke. Not a huge joke. Just a small joke about his brother in law. And in a snap he flipped this audience from crying to laughing. He popped the stress balloon. With this tiny bit of humor he gave us a a much needed break from our grief. It was such a small gesture with a huge impact. What a gift. (And on a personal note I was amazed that he could be so generous in the face of his personal loss. It was wonderful.)

But it was later that night that humor delivered even more healing. We sat together and shared pasta and more wine than we probably should have. The stories about the mom — the woman we buried that day — flowed…. and flowed. Laughter and smiles were way more prevalent than tears. Yup, the tears were still there. But the laughter helped us all manage them.

I have no idea what time will bring… but I’m certain that liberal doses of humor and gladness will help us get through such sad and difficult times. Humor cannot erase our grief… it can’t make things “All Better” like our mommies did when we were little kids. But encouraging and welcoming humor into our lives will help us to at least begin to heal.

Now pass the wine.