This I Believe

Deb - Salt Lake City, Utah
Entered on May 9, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50

This I believe: Laughter is the Best Medicine

Laughter, as I have heard, is the best medicine.

I know that for a fact, because when I divorced my twin daughter’s father 10 years ago I didn’t laugh. I don’t mean to say that it was a laughing matter but I had long ago forgotten how to laugh, even before we divorced. My heart hurt so deeply for myself, my husband and my daughters that I found no joy in anything and had not laughed in months, perhaps years.

I had physical manifestations of not laughing as well, chronic headaches, acid reflux, depression and malnourishment. I was a non-laughing mess.

But one night, my sister forced me out to a comedy club with friends. And I laughed. I laughed so much I couldn’t stop. I laughed that night so hard that my sides hurt and tears ran like rivers from my eyes. I felt the poison of sadness, regret, hurt and pain flow from those bursts of laughter, like a volcano exploding its fire and rock.

That night I realized how long it had been since I laughed. I realized how much I missed laughing, how much I needed to laugh. Laughing at the joy of listening to other people, my family, laughing at my precious daughters, laughing at myself. Laughing even at pain.

The night my grandmother died in a hospice center, my mom, my twin daughters and I were gathered around her bed and we were laughing about the wonderful character that was my grandma. We laughed about her temper and her beautiful round body. We held her hands, stroked her hair and laughed. Then she left us. She left this world with the sounds of her daughter, granddaughter and great-granddaughters laughing. At the time my grandma died, my daughter’s were struggling with the knowledge that their father was seriously ill and may die. They were frightened of death. But being with their great-grandmother and laughing with her as she left this world healed their fear. Death does not sting and hold negative power for them now. They don’t actually “Laugh in the Face of Death”, but they do laugh.

Not everything is funny or is a moment for hilarity, but I have learned that taking life so seriously is in its own right a death. I have five children, all teenagers now. They laugh at me a lot. My husband and I laugh with them and often times at them, and this helps all of us love each other a little bit more, find joy in being human and making mistakes, and softens the harsh blows of reality. I find now that mixed with the confusion of teenagers, school, friends, work and family there is a lot to laugh about. I yearn to find what is funny and joyful now.

Laughter is a medicine I will never find myself without again. I have felt its healing power in my life and in the life of my family. I believe laughter is the best medicine!