This I Believe

Jessica - McKinney, Texas
Entered on July 19, 2006

Laughter through Tears

“Life is a tragedy for those who feel and a comedy for those who think.”

La Bruyere

I hold the plastic hospital bracelet in my hand. Memories run through my mind and plead to be let loose to share their message. The message is clear, concise, and curious. I believe when I learned to laugh through the tears, the pain dissipated.

A simple lesson which was taught and learned at great emotional cost and reward. Twenty six years old…locked into immobility by a stroke and coma. I awoke from the coma as one of the living dead. My body shut down. Machines performed the functions for my organs.

I wanted to die, but because I lacked the physical capability to shut off the life support, I was forced to survive. I needed someone’s hands to do the deed. Family and friends refused. With no option, but life I merely existed…not really alive, but not dead.

The day arrived for me to return home. Neither the prospect nor the reality brought me pleasure. Six years of mindlessness elapsed. I could not die, but I refused to live. I floundered. Further and further into depression I wallowed. During the day I underwent physical therapy. My participation was required. The faster I complied, the quicker they left me alone.

Sleep was my refuge. I gratefully succumbed to it, but consciousness stubbornly returned. When my grief was finally exhausted, boredom drew me from my grave of mere existence.

The instances that brought cries created a new byproduct. Laughter found me again. People tried to whisper secrets into my deaf ear. My sister teased me that she was writing a best seller titled 101 Ways to Torture a Quadriplegic. Children spoke of me in awe. “She has a hole in her neck.” Statements like these brought mirth. I learned to laugh at the tragedies in my life.

I hold the plastic hospital bracelet in my hand. I thank God I learned the lesson well. My life is both comedy and tragedy. I believe, because I laugh instead of cry the pain subsides.