Levity During Loss

 

My brother made the drive from Michigan to Ontario to be with us for my mother-in-law’s memorial service. Before he left he called to see what I’d like him to bring. I asked for my favourite flour—whole wheat but made from white wheat kernels—perfect for bread and pancakes, but I can’t seem to find it here in Canada.

When he arrived and offered his condolences, I hugged him as he passed me the two bags of King Arthur.

“Thanks for the flours.” I said through tears. And then we laughed. The ridiculousness of this statement brought some much needed levity to an otherwise somber situation.

My brother-in-law flew home from overseas last week and he’s been making us laugh since he got home. His stories about his mom and all the good times has brought both laughter and tears — honouring her this way is helping us begin to heal.

My son is having a difficult time accepting that his “Grandie” is really gone. But talking about her and remembering the special moments is helping him cope. He has vowed to keep her memory alive for his younger cousins and little sister.

My daughter knows her Grandie is in heaven, but she doesn’t comprehend the permanence. Death is a difficult concept to grasp, even for grown-ups. Today I tried to prepare her for what to expect at the Celebration of Life gathering. She asked if Grandie would be there. I told her she would not, but that lots of friends and family would be there to say good-bye and to talk about how much we love her.

She processed this information and after a moment said, “I know! I’ll do a puppet show!!” In her mind, this was just what the celebration needed. And I laughed. It seems humour is nature’s way of helping us survive. Perhaps finding the funny in the saddest of times helps the heart heal faster. 

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