Photo from Reader's Digest - laugh yourself to good health
Being a widow is a lot of things. Scary. Sad. Lonely. Guilt-ridden. But an unexpected side effect of the loss of my spouse is the humour and hilarity.
Maybe I was a funny person before. Maybe it has been in me all along. But after spending time again this year at Camp Widow, my cheeks hurt from laughing....and I didn't spend the time giggling at myself. Either death finds funny people or funny people just curse those around us.....or maybe, when life has you scraping the barrel, you begin to not take it as seriously. You realize that you can't jinx yourself with a belly laugh and no one has ever ceased breathing for joking about the ceasing of breathing.
I now find it more comfortable to be able to face the sadness and fear down and speak it out loud....and then laugh in its' face. Unfortunately, lay people sometimes seem to be either very uncomfortable with this M.O. or they seem to think that I am flippant or nonchalant about losing my beloved Jeff. I can assure you I'm not.
But a sign-in sheet at work for the staff party where it inquires whether each staff member will be bringing their spouse fills me with a desire to answer in the allotted box, "No. The seat belt won't properly hold the urn."
A man who approaches me at the bar surrounded with other widows who have attended the widowhood conference states to me that it is such a coincidence that he has the same tattoo on his forearm as I do. "Oh?!", I say, "So your husband died too and you got an anchor to signify both his job as a fisherman and his role as an 'anchor' in your life????? Wow!!!!! That IS a coincidence!" Shocked, he tells me that I am mean and rude. I just thought it was plain funny.
A woman at Camp Widow sported a shirt that said, "My husband died and all I got was this lousy t-shirt." This shirt has brought me many moments of mirth for the last week as I recalled it.
I love that we can find humour at such a deathly grave situation. We are not (as) afraid anymore. We now know that you will not be struck dead for a good chuckle.