Because humor brings us back to earth, it helps us to use well what is left to us even when we are keenly aware of what we have lost or been denied. Only those who know how to weep can also laugh heartily. – Kathleen R. Fischer
I repurposed this quote from the book, “Healing After Loss, daily meditations for working through grief.” (Hickman). It’s such an appropriate thought in these Coronavirus times and in times of grief. It reminds me of the phrase, “Laughter is the best medicine.” It was recently April Fool’s Day. My youngest son and I devised several pranks to play on Dad and big brothers who are currently quarantined with us. It was fun to set-up the gags and wait for the traps to spring. It was especially fun since we planned for surprises to occur throughout the day. Normally we couldn’t do this. Normally we would be at work, school and involved with other activities. But this year it was different because we could fool around throughout the day. It brought an element of joy, eagerness and surprise that we have not had during these weeks of monotony. This foolishness was a welcome relief.
This interlude of humor was medicine for the monotony of grief; grief over the loss of social time, grief over loss of unfulfilled plans, grief over the loss of control. It’s interesting how the quarantine grief is like the grief over the loss of loved ones. It reminds me of the grief I experienced 18 years ago when my daughter, Lucy, died of SIDS. I am always amazed how it can rear its head during times of frustration or sadness.
After a break from the pranking, I took some much-needed prayer time. In the quiet meditation I remembered that I wanted to find a specific article for a family member. I started looking in my office files and on my bookshelves. It wasn’t there. I then thought it might be in the special drawers I keep for each of my children. It wasn’t there either. However, this uninterrupted moment did allow me the rare time to look through the mementos I keep in Lucy’s drawer. It has baby shower cards and congratulatory birth cards, a deflated mylar balloon from a baby shower, hospital name bands, a couple of birth announcements, some painted, wooden letters in L-U-C-Y shapes, some special emails I printed and saved, and a loving letter from my mother (now departed) about her sorrow over Lucy’s death and pride in the way we were still persevering and loving. Of course, I cried. It wasn’t sobbing. It was the familiar twinge of my heart longing for the supreme joy I had experienced when she was alive. It was the heaviness that sits on my chest when I know how sad her death is for my husband, her brothers, her aunts and uncles, and all our beloved friends.
These moments quiet me, and all around me seems frozen for a few seconds. Then I am brought back to the “now” …brought back to earth. On this day, the moment ended when I was hailed to prepare another prank. My son was unaware that I had journeyed through my loss again. He was only concerned with the present day and bringing some laughter to the house. Although I had been weeping just one minute prior, I was delighted for what was in front of me…for what wasn’t lost and what was to be gained. Only those who know how to weep can also laugh heartily. No fooling.