22 February 2009

Inappropriate Laughter

Along with almost every tragedy there comes inappropriate laughter. Just at the point where you think you can never stop crying, where you feel like you will never smile again, it strikes.

Something so stupid and awful and wrong that you burst into laughter that starts small and catches like a wildfire in dry grass until you are howling and crying and snotting all over yourself.

Gael gave me permission to share her story that caused our inappropriate laughter Tuesday night.

She had told many, many people what happened to Curt, but she hadn't had a chance to tell her beloved cousin, Lisa.

Gael checked her email and found one from Lisa with the subject line "Sad news."

She thought "Oh, good, someone told Lisa. That's one less thing I have to do."

She opened the email. The sad news was that Lisa's dog had died.

"So I thought 'What do I do NOW?'" Gael said.

Indeed. Call Lisa and say "You think YOU have sad news! Well, check this out!" or "I can see your dog and raise you a husband!"

Yeah. Inappropriate laughter. Sometimes it is the only way we survive.


Adrienne said...

I see your husband and raise you a mother.

The night my mother passed, two of us four sisters were with her one was back here in Cali and one had just left to drive home to sleep, she turned around and came right back to the hospital. One of the first things she did (after being respectful and blah blah blah) was "I always wanted to tickle moms feet" AND SHE DID saying "NYAH NYAH NYAH"! Then she started playing with the controls on moms bed, up and down up and down(any movement caused my mom greivous pain). We were beside ourselves with laughter, the Hospice nurses didn't know what hit them.

You have to laugh as much as possible. You are a doll being there for your friend and for his wife.

Jules said...

Nice post my friend.
Keep on writing..=)

Kizz said...

Thank god for that kind of inappropriate humor. Without it we'd all be lost!

LittlePea said...

Inappropriate laughter is good medicine for times like that :O)

Kaylia Metcalfe said...

I was gone and just now catching up... so sorry for your loss.

And glad that you can find a way to smile.

Anything else I say will sound tired and cliche,

-metnal hugs-

Anonymous said...

I hope you're enjoying a large chunk of good cheese with some wine and smiling as much as you can tonight.
Peace to you and Gael.

Count Mockula said...

Oh, I know that kind of laughter well. I once laughed my ass off IN a funeral. The friend next to me was horrified and tried to bury me in her lap.

Sue, I'm so sorry for your loss. I lost a friend this week too. It's been rough all around.

West Coast Grrlie Blather said...

aka: Gallows Humor - A Very Important Genre.

Sending you a virtual hug--losing a friend is tough, especially in this way.

Ericka said...

i completely understand.

in college, i was nearly phobic about speaking in public. shakes, sweats, deer in the headlights PANIC. a friend of mine used to tease me about it unmercifully.

and then he died.

and shortly thereafter, i found myself having to speak at his funeral - to a crowd of almost 600 people, none of whom i knew.

and i stood up there, at the front, with him in a box behind me, and it seemed to me that it was a setup - he'd done this to me intentionally and i got to thinking how he'd be reacting to the situation and in front of nearly 600 people i didn't know, i got this huge case of the giggles. just couldn't stop. it took me nearly 10 minutes to bring myself under control.

but you know, public speaking hasn't bothered me since.

Project Christopher said...

Adrienne, that's funny! My mom would have gotten a giggle out of it had we done the same.

My whole family has been in health care. There was a boy who was a little younger than me that I knew through my mom. He had cancer and had treatments all his life. He had these two small sock monkeys that he brought with him to all treatments. So much so that the hospital staff knew the monkeys names more often than they knew the parent's names. The boy got older and into h is teens but still, for the sake of laughter still brought the sock monkeys with him. When he felt comfortable with a small group of the staff he would actually make jokes with the monkeys putting them in sexual positions, etc. My first year as a health care professional was his last year of life (no connection I promise) But I'd known him growing up so I was immediately inducted into his inner circle of laughing through the sickness. When he passed, I went with my mom to the funeral. When we got to the open casket, there he laid, with a sock monkey in the crook of each arm.
I laughed out LOUD! My mother pinched me for all she was worth, but she was smiling big and I could not stop laughing. When I turned around the boy's mother was looking at me with a huge smile on her face and mouthed "I thought you'd like that."

J said...

So very sorry for your loss. Nothing wrong with a little inappropriate laughter now and again. Whatever gets you through the night, as they say.

Anonymous said...

Very sorry for your and your friend's loss.

This is no way holds a candle to the great stories already told here, but when my daughters were young (7 and under 12 months) we had to take our cat to the vet to have her put down. While the technicians were gone with the cat and my oldest and I were sniffling and crying over the loss of our beloved cat, my baby started making raspberry noises in a very quiet exam room. Boy, did that break us up!! We tried so hard to be quiet because we didn't want the vet staff thinking we were laughing over the cat, but it was tough! And it turned a very sad day into a great memory.

the mystic said...

Oh I'm so sorry for your loss, but yes inappropriate laughter is God's gift to us right at the moment we have nothing left inside. Cathartic, therapeutic, bonding, etc.

Suzanne said...

I think the way my grandfather dealt with losing his entire family during the Holocaust was to make inappropriate jokes for the rest of his life. Not jokes about the Holocaust, but about every other aspect of life. It's something that I think I learned from him. Humor as a coping mechanism is very healthy.

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