The other day I spoke at a Death & Dying class at the local university. I have been doing this every semester for a few years now. I come in after the class, full of social work, counseling and nursing students, discusses the topic of grieving. I tell them my personal grief story. My story usually ends up being a bit of a free association, rambling kind of routine, and there is a lot of laughter.
I am not sure if the laughter shocks any of the students. I certainly hope it does not offend any of them. I don't want to seem too irreverent. (not too anyway)
I know grief isn't funny, grief is hard work.
I tell them that too.
For the presentation, in an attempt to keep myself somewhat focused, I try to tell stories that are examples of my favorite list of characteristics required for successful grieving.
Courage, Resilience, Perseverance, Patience, and a Sense of Humor. (found in the book, The Courage to Grieve).
My stories relating to these characteristics are meant to be examples of a person doing her best to move forward and figure out how to best put the pieces of her life back in some kind of order after it was shattered. They involve some yelling at innocent parties and some wise realizations from wide eyed children and some feelings of failure and some feelings of accomplishment and some tears and lots of laughter.
When your 4 year old approaches you at an airport inquiring about the "green square thing at the bottom of the urinal", or you finally realize, after months of doing it, that the family cannot live on instant oatmeal alone, or you cry in joy over a little thing like a state park sticker, or you find yourself in a conversation with a hawk and it seems like a perfectly rational thing to do, one must laugh at the ridiculousness of the situation.
Grief is hard work and it is sad and it is ridiculous at times and you find yourself in outrageous situations and it helps to see the humor in it all.
As a good friend of mine says; Sometimes you gotta laugh.
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