Can you laugh when the expectations you had for life have been turned upside down and inside out and you wonder how you will make it through another day? Your world has changed forever.
When my husband and I brought our third child home from the hospital after he was born, it was with joy and excitement. He was a husky, healthy ten-pound baby boy. However, by six months we knew something wasn’t right as he still was unable to hold up his head.
Many months later, once again, we brought our son home from another extended hospital visit where extensive tests had been done. Only this time, we were in shock. The final diagnosis was that Don had cerebral palsy of the worst magnitude.
When was the last time you laughed – I mean, really laughed – until the tears rolled down your cheeks, your sides hurt, and you gasped for air? You laughed and laughed and didn’t want to stop!
Something tickled your funny bone so that in an instant you saw the world differently – your situation was so bad, it was funny – your problem so profound, it was laughable – the ludicrous became the comical. The world had turned upside down and you laughed as you swung in the absurdity of the moment.
What precipitated that laughter? How did it change how you felt about your world, your situation, yourself? How did it change the minutes and hours afterwards?
In her book, I’d Rather Laugh: How to be Happy Even when Life Has Other Plans for You, Linda Richman tells her story of pain from the losses in her life, first while growing up and then culminating in the loss of her son and working through that tragedy with humor.
“I learned that we can withstand a lot of pain and loss and not just survive it but rise above it. I learned that no matter how sad you are today, happiness and laughter and even joy are still distinct possibilities for tomorrow, or if not tomorrow, the day after that. And I learned that you and I have in our power the ability to get all that and more. . . no matter what horrible thing has happened; life still offers you humor if you want it.”