- Jill Schacter
- My wonderful husband died when I was 44 years old. Being widowed this young happens to less than 3% of married people. Writing through this loss one word at time helps me understand what I've lost and helps me continue to grow. It is how I have gradually recovered from such a severe loss. Research shows that you can benefit from taking just 15 minutes a day to write out your deepest feelings as a way of healing. On the right side of this blog, you'll see a tag for Exercises to Try. If you need some help knowing how to use writing to help heal yourself, I suggest you start there.
Friday, January 20, 2012
Laugh about Death (Ha Ha Ha)
The sadness of grief can last a long time, longer than anyone wants to know. When you've lost someone integral to your daily life, especially: a spouse, a child, a sibling, a parent. Maybe you feel like you've got no right to be happy when someone that close to you can't be happy anymore, can't be anything anymore, has to be dead. Perhaps pure joy, silliness, levity, excitement, enthusiasm for your own vital future feels a tad wrong or out of place. (Ho! Ho! Ho!)
Grief changes you. It sucks the lightness from your life and hovers over you like a giant shadow, arms outstretched, threatening, looming, staying put. The shadow can block out the sun; with no sun there is no growth. (Tee hee!)
Major loss keeps rapping on your skull: hello in there, guess what, shit happens! It can happen to you -- again, so beware, don't trust and don't get too comfortable. (Hardy-har-har!)
Last night I had a great experience at Willow House in suburban Chicago www.willowhouse.org, where once a month I go to help facilitate grief groups for children and their families. Usually, a mother or father has died too young leaving young children and a spouse behind to carry on without them. The theme for last night's group was laughter, a wonderful theme, a fantastic departure from the weightiness of death, for people needing support as they heal and move forward past that heavy, heavy load of loss.
The evening was filled with exercises and activities that either had participants literally laugh together (on demand about absolutely nothing in particular), then share happy or silly memories of the loved one who had died. Oh! What a relief to laugh about death and to revive happy times! The energy last night was life-affirming and joyful. I couldn't help but think that the dead mothers and fathers would be grateful for their children having a good guffaw in their permanent absence, and that they would wish for more and more of these moments for their children, and their spouses as well. They would want their children to remember them in their funny moments and happy times, and not for messes left behind or scary moments of crisis. Being dead, they must be thinking...geez, get happy, you're not the one who died. LIVE WHILE YOU CAN!
So lighten up folks. Have a laugh thinking about the one who died. Let the funny and the happy push away that big old ghostly cloud. Put a smile on it. It's not that serious. It's just death and it ain't going away in your lifetime. Laugh about death for a change. Do it frequently. (Snicker.)
Now's the time to get out your journal (what do you mean you don't have one?) OK then get out a piece of paper or since you're on the computer now, open up a new WORD file, and write for a full ten minutes. Here are a few prompts for you to use...use one or use them all, or make up your own. It better be funny.
Remember five different occasions when your loved one made you laugh and write about it.
Describe some of the ridiculous habits of your loved one.
What did you and your loved one do for fun? When did you have the most fun?
Describe an amazing adventure or vacation you had with your loved one.
What kinds of gestures, gifts, or surprises did your loved one give you or do for you that made you feel loved and important.