“Sometimes in the most tragic situation, something just profoundly funny happens.”-David Hyde Pierce
There really isn’t anything funny about grieving…at first glance. In truth, however, life is absurd in all contexts, including loss.
The week after my mother’s funeral I got stuck in an elevator at the Metro parking garage on my way to work. After letting the reality of my situation sink in, I burst out laughing because of the shear stupidity of the moment. I had been nervous about heading back to work for the first time–but then I had something to giggle about on and off for the rest of the day.
These are two small moments in a vastly absurd post-loss life, but they show that ridiculous situations exist regardless of the state in which you find yourself. Perhaps the Universe (or God) needs to drop a bit of absurdity your way to keep you from being engulfed by the profound sadness of the moment.
Whatever the cause, we need to be able and willing to recognize humor moment when we experience it. Yes, grief is serious business; but, if grief becomes all serious all the time, then we risk incurring debilitating consequences that complicate our experience and prevent us from moving forward and growing.
Grief doesn’t want life to be serious all day long; grief is an expression of love, after all. Laughter doesn’t mean we have forgotten about our loved one or that we didn’t love them enough to be sadder. Humor is fleeting, as fleeting as any emotion we feel. It comes and goes, and leaves behind something chuckle-worthy that alleviates tension when we are most in need.
Be open to absurdity and laughter, even when you are the saddest you have ever been. Sadness and humor are flip sides of the same coin, not polar opposites. Let the funny in, let it reduce some tension, let it contribute to your healing.