I was touched by the outpouring of love I received when I mentioned it was the anniversary of the day my Mom died. People both close to me and casual acquaintances left me words of encouragement through emails, Facebook or phone calls. I, of course, chose to hibernate the day away. I did not want to pretend to be happy or act as if nothing was wrong. It is just easier to do that when you only have your dog and your son at home with you. One doesn’t ask questions and the other already knows the reason for sudden tears.
More than one person asked me to share a favorite memory of Mom to help me think of the good times and make me smile. I love that idea. But to choose one favorite memory would be impossible. I suppose I would have to chose one thing I am most thankful for when it comes to something Mom ensured that my brother, my sister and I all had the ability to do without effort or falseness: The ability to laugh no matter what is going on around us.
You want the humor? We can bring the humor. Sometimes it happens to be at inappropriate times, inappropriate places or under inappropriate circumstances, though. Mom used to call those the “church giggles.”
Here is your lesson in “church giggles.”
Something strikes you as amusing (real or just a passing thought) at a time when you should not be laughing and the next thing you know, you start to giggle. The more you try to stop, the harder it is and the more you’re giggling. Before you know it tears are streaming down your face as your shoulders are shaking and people around you are wondering if you have lost your mind or are having some sort of fit. The “church giggles” can strike at any time in any places. Just know that it will be a time or place when laughter is usually not “the thing to do” at that time. Funerals are a classic place to get the “church giggles.” Or? When someone is giving a speech (not a funny one either) and you begin to feel the need to giggle and cannot stop it, you should brace yourself for the full on giggles. Don’t bother to apologize while in this state. That only makes the laughter worse and harder to stop.
It has happened to me at, yes, funerals as well as PTA meetings, meetings with school administrators, speeches (both by strangers and friends alike), as well as just every day, average situations that do not call for laughter.
The best example of the “church giggles” was during Mary Tyler Moore on the Episode “Chuckles Bites the Dust.” Here is a part of the show. The giggles start around the 3 minute mark. The clip is long but the roller coaster emotions sure do fit me to a tee on this day. That whole show with its inappropriate jokes and laughter mirror my life. Well, except knowing anyone who was “shelled by an elephant” thing.
But it isn’t just laughing at inappropriate times. It is laughing at whatever life throws at you. I have laughed sitting beside more hospital beds than I can count. I can find humor in the situation. I have laughed when it seems as if there is nothing funny. Trust me, something is funny and can be found. You need someone to help you find the funny, come sit by me. We’ll laugh.
Never was it more evident than when my brother, my sister and I were all together in December. We laughed at everything. We laughed at each other. We laughed at ourselves. We laughed at our family. We laughed at strangers. We probably even laughed at you! The point is this. Mom gave each one of us something special that is unique to each of us but she gave all of us something that we can share with each other and with those around us: The ability to laugh in life’s face. And, oh boy, do we laugh!
That’s what I remember (and carry with me) most when it comes to Mom.
She taught us…
and no matter what