Finding Laughter Again
By: © Ferna Lary Mills
Laughter. That strange emotion that causes us to breathe funny, makes our face wrinkle upwards, brings funny sounds from our throats and sometimes even causes tears to roll from our eyes. Sometimes it’s brought on simply by a word, or only a look, or a memory that suddenly comes to mind.
Laughter seems so inappropriate and foreign when we are in such deep stages of sorrow and grief. Yet laughter is still good for the soul. It allows healing to take place, stress to be released, and it bonds us together with one another when all of our bonds seem to have come loose at the seams. Yet, it’s so elusive and sometimes even unthinkable to believe we will ever laugh again.
After my mother died, I was so surprised when laughter came again, for it happened while preparing to go to her funeral. Yes, it felt so very inappropriate at the time, but it was good for the soul, and not just for me!
My parents had been divorced for 29 years. Upon learning of my mom’s death, my father drove 1800 miles to be with us kids while we buried our mother. Now, Dad being a very frugal man, owned only one suit . . . a black tuxedo he bought from Goodwill to wear to a friends wedding a few years ago. He was quite proud of his tux and bragged that it cost him only $10. Rather, he paid $6 for the tux and $4 to have it cleaned! He was so proud of his “bargain”!
When I finished dressing to go to my mother’s funeral, I turned to see Dad strutting into the room in his beautiful $10 tuxedo, complete with tails and a worn red silk rose attached to the lapel. I’m sorry, but I busted out laughing! We laughed together. Then we laughed and cried. But the tears washed out our souls and helped us to prepare for the lengthy and slow healing process. Yes, Dad did wear his tux to her funeral. However, I gently plucked the fake rose from the lapel and placed it in his pocket.
Only ten short months later, I ended up having to bury my father, too. But the memory of that tux still brings a grin to my face and a smile to my heart. By the way, we buried Dad in his favorite suit, but with a real red rose on the lapel. I know he would have been proud!