I believe that happiness and laughter can cure even the worst situations. Our family had received a call at 5 a.m. a few days after Thanksgiving in 2001; I was in the fourth grade. The call told us that my grandfather was in the hospital for a blood infection, and it was predicted that he wouldn’t make it. We packed the car knowing this would be the last time we would ever see him. My sister, who was 13 at the time, and I sat in the back of our minivan playing Nintendo for four hours straight as we drove to Springfield, Illinois. We had no idea what was really happening. I had already lost many extended family members when I was little, and it was almost like my brain was programmed to forget about reality and drift off.
The car pulled into St. Joseph hospital. My dad turned off the engine, and I prepared him to give me a speech. He turned around, gave a smile, and told us that he might die today… but no matter what my grandfather loved us and would never want us to be sad.
My step-grandma Nigel met us at the entrance of the hospital room. She gave me a great big hug and told my sister and me to wait inside the room with my grandpa.
Inside the room, my grandpa told my sister and me how much he loved us and how proud of us he was. As, my mother and father entered, he repeated somewhat of the same words. He then asked why we were all here. Was this his death bed? My mom responded, “Oh we just came down here to get that soup you told us about… the tomato.” I will remember for the rest of my life these next words. My grandpa chuckled a little and said, “Whatever you do in your life, just make sure you never get their broccoli soup!”
Our family laughed hysterically, and my grandfather drifted asleep. He never awoke, but my whole life I’ve lived with that memory. Not the memory that my grandfather died, but the memory that we were all together in one room just laughing. I try to live my life like that: laugh a little even when things get tough. A terrible situation can become happy if some just makes a joke. I know now that the cure to life, my life is laughing.
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