This I Believe

Erin - Santa Monica, California
Entered on June 22, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

I believe in laughter. However cliche it may be, I genuinely believe that laughter is the best medicine.

When I was born, my babysitter had already been working for my family for three years taking care of my older brother and sisters. She was an exciting older lady from Spain who we called Bubba. And Bubba was a woman who loved children, cooking, and crocheting, but more than anything, she loved to spoil me rotten.

In my early years, I spend every waking moment with her. She lived just down the block so anytime I wanted to see her, it wasn’t an issue. While my siblings were at school, I was with Bubba. She would take me to the park or McDonald’s. And on rainy days, we put on our rain boots and she took us stomping through the puddles.

When I started going to school, she would take me in the morning and everyday, without fail, she was waiting for me when the bell rang, usually with cheap, store brand candy for the other kids and me. I would sleep at her house and in the morning she would prepare my lunch and carry me to my house and on shoulders so that I could get dressed.

I was eleven when she died. It was breast cancer and I was absolutely devastated. She had been my best friend and now she was gone forever.

At the funeral, I sat with my sisters sobbing through the priest’s sermons until my mother made her way to the front of the room and prepared to give her eulogy. She used Bubba’s eccentricity to lighten the mood, being careful to mention every quirk that just made her who she was. Anyone who knew Bubba knew that her version of the word “fork” was always a little alarming the first time but surely enough when she asked you if you wanted one, you knew she was referring to the silverware, she wasn’t one to curse. Everyone also knew that she was incredibly, let’s call it “thrifty”, she played the lottery and was ecstatic when she won $5.

We all loved her and we laughed as my mother told these stories, but we weren’t laughing in a disrespectful way, we were laughing in remembrance. Laughing made it easier to cope. It made it easier to let go. If we were ever sad and missing her terribly we could always ask ourselves which utensil came after the spoon and the knife, and we would always laugh, because we always had.

Laughter makes it easier to get back up when you fall. It makes it hurt less if you can laugh about it.

Laughter may not have the ability to heal all wounds, but it certainly helps. If we can laugh, we can go on.