In spite of the tension and worry last week when I was with my husband at the hospital, I was reminded again that the indomitable human spirit is stronger than fear or sorrow, and will rise up and laugh in the face of the Grim Reaper.
I've seen it at almost every funeral I've attended: After the ceremony where tears are shed for the dear departed, you'll see friends and relatives gathered in small groups telling stories about the past, chuckling as they recollect good times.
Cliff's younger brother, Don, died a few years ago; you'd have to have known him to realize what a character he really was. But there was much laughter at his memorial service as grandchildren, sons, and even the minister told true tales about him that almost had us rolling in the aisles, so to speak. What risks he took as he proceeded through his wild and crazy life! There was joy amid the tears as we listened.
During Cliff's two-day stay at the hospital last week, we had quite a few laughs. He wasn't in pain, so we did a lot of joking and reminiscing as we passed the time together. On Tuesday his sister Rena came over and the three of us had one of the best visits ever. The next day, when we learned Cliff would be released as soon as could be arranged, the two of us joked and laughed through those hours of waiting until we finally got to go home. I never sleep very well at night. I yawned at one point Cliff suggested I try to take a nap. "I remember when we both could fit onto a bed this size," he said.
"Oh, I'm pretty sure I could fit onto that hospital bed with you," I said. "Scoot over and we'll see."
I didn't even take off my shoes off; I got on the bed, stretched out, and laid my head on his shoulder. It was very comforting to me, although at that time I really wasn't troubled anyway. A male nurse walked in to do something or other and didn't even acknowledge the fact there were two of us in the bed; he just said what he had to say.
Folks, a sense of humor can get you through a lot of life's painful or tedious moments. It eases the tensions caused by fear. I don't believe our marriage would have lasted these soon-to-be fifty-five years if it hadn't been for our mutual ability not to take ourselves too seriously, and to laugh our way through hard times.
We only get one life to live on this earth; we may as well enjoy it.