It takes fewer muscles to smile than it does to frown. At the time, I would have found that hard to believe.
My body was shaking. Tears cascaded down the taut skin on my face. My abs burned from the uncontrollable force pulsing through me. My suffocating lungs puffed out hard gasps of air, making it almost impossible to breathe; and I never wanted it to stop.
The foul words echoing out of the car’s surround sound speakers induced new snorts of laughter from my mother and me. She usually wasn’t a fan of profanity, but the new and improved version of the Christmas carol sent her into a fit of giggles.
“Chris would have loved this!” she gasped. Yes he would, if he were still alive.
This was the first time I had seen my mother really laugh since her brother died in October of that year. What a sight. To see her face crack into the smile I was once so familiar with was like watching her wake up from a coma. I longed to see her happy again, even if it were only for the length of a song.
I always thought that my uncle would have made a good comedian. You know the kind that isn’t afraid to make racial slurs or political statements… yeah, that kind. Making people laugh had been his God given talent. So when that song beamed its way to our car radio, it reminded my mother and me of all the fun times we had spent with him, and how hard he would be laughing if he were still with us.
If I’ve learned anything from life, it’s that laughter has the power to heal. It can relieve the stress of the most dismal situations, and become a milestone to recovery; because after a good ol’ slap-on-the-knee, it’s-so-funny-you-might-pee-your-pants-chuckle, life doesn’t seem so bad.
Driving down that iced over two lane highway on Christmas Eve, my mother and I realized that when life switches from throwing curve balls at you to sharp jagged rocks, humor can still be found between each pitch.