Friday, August 13, 2010

funny "ha ha" or funny "horrific"

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.


Anonymous said...

Wow, that WAS a mean and rude thing to say to that man!

Ashley said...

That is so my dads kind of humour so I am used to it and actually had a good chuckle imagining you driving around with an urn strapped to the front seat :)

Suddenwidow said...

I completely understand and embrace widow/er humour. If we weren't laughing we'd be sobbing, and having spent hours, perhaps days, sobbing, laughter is definitely welcomed relief (and so much better for our souls). Anyone who doesn't understand it, has never been where we are. Lucky them. And no one should judge when they haven't been in our shoes.

Stacey said...

That was NOT a mean and rude thing to say. I just wish I was brave enough to say the things I think in response to the comments some people make. Obviously as a widow I know where you were coming from, but even without being a widow I think your comment to that man was and is funny. He was just mad you ruined his pick-up line!

Andrea Renee said...

Jackie, you have good sense when someone is giving you a lousy pick-up line (lord knows you heard enough of them in just that one evening!). Men just need to learn to be a teensy bit more creative and genuine with their approach. You don't have a mean or rude bone in your body, my sweet friend. I love you! Now I, on the other hand, was probably a little mean telling that poor sick puppy to go fetch his lighter in the middle of oncoming traffic. =)

Bob said...

I thought the anchor/fisherman line was hilarious. I also liked the one in my daughter, Chelsea's, blog posting about the writing on the bachelor's hat about insurance. It does sound from reading the various summaries that you guys really did have a fabulous event. I had said to Chelsea how pleased I was that she was going, not only for whatever she might get out of the keynote and seminars, but more importantly about how special it is to meet others with common interests and understandings about who you are and what you do. Thanks, Jackie, for being a great online (and now, in person) friend of hers.

Supa Dupa Fresh said...

I often say that we widows know how to laugh because we know how much there is to lose and we know that laughing really matters. You never have more than this one moment, why not spend it in joy?
I LOVED meeting you at last!

Carol Scibelli said...

Hiya Jackie,
Poor Widow Me, here...and you know humor is my middle name (not literally)
Guess what? You don't have to take a just keep laughing and being who you are to keep your life a bit brighter.
As Bette Midler says: If they can't take a joke f#$%^K 'em!

Wendy said...

The funniest comment I heard during camp was when my friend told another widow that her husband dropped dead of a heart attack. The woman responded, "F*#king A$%hole!" I laughed til I cried! No one else would quite find that funny.

Anonymous said...

This is just my 2 cents, and I'm not saying I'm RIGHT, but I also feel it was a rude thing to say. Sure, maybe he was trying to "pick you up" or whatever? But, maybe he was just trying to be nice.

I get the widow humour, but I don't get why directing it towards other people in a rude way makes it funny? I don't think that any life circumstance, however trajic, gives anyone the open ticket to be rude to anyone else?

Sometimes I just shake my head at the "I lashed out at the guy in the line up who mentioned my husband" or the "why would she think she "understands" me just because she had a divorce" mindset.

People are just being assume that other people "don't get it" because they haven't "been in your shoes" is ignorant.

Some of those same people who talk to you in bars and line ups? They've lost loved ones, children, been through terrible divorces and had hardships in their lives that you haven't. It doesn't make their suffering any more real than yours or give anyone the right to be rude to anyone else.

Mama_Bear_Sarah said...

those of us who were ACTUALLY THERE know and understand what a douche bag (or douche baggery if you will) that guy was being and full suppport your answer/come back. he was being a prick, plain and simple and his come on line was disgusting. he deserved what he got. the end.

Anonymous said...

That guy was SO rude - he bumped into Dan on his way to 'pick you up', and if I didn't already know that you were far more capable of handling him than I, I would have had a few words for him myself!

It wasn't mean or rude. It WAS a funny statement, especially given the context! It's not your fault that he didn't find it funny - he wanted to lay the blame on you for is rediculosity (if you will).

In my opinion - and it doesn't mean I'm right - painting all widow humour/'don't get it' comments with the same brush as being 'an open ticket to being rude to everyone else', is ignorant.

Not 'everyone' is trying to be nice, and regardless of nice, we really can't help it if they are so uncomfortable with our 'situation' that they judge us as the ones who are rude.


Andrea Renee said...

LMAO @ Wendy!

Mel said...

As the girl who was standing at your side during said incident while simultaneously fending off his friend,

...and who heard it all... were beautiful and hilarious.

It was a funny moment with a rude dude and you were awesome.

(Oh, and the rude dude was definitely not offended!)

We continued to laugh and joke about the oddness of the situation of a bar-full of young widow(er)s for some time afterwards, until it was time to send the rude dudes on their way...

So, yes, context is important. But it's also important to have confidence in Jackie's integrity.