Thursday, July 28, 2011

When All You Can Do Is Laugh

This is something I wrote a while ago and forgot to post. Interestingly, the main point of it is very appropriate for the week we are having. We need to find more laughter this week!:

Have you ever been having such a bad day that all you can do is laugh? Laugh at times when most people might think you should be crying? Laugh because life is so messed up that you can’t even believe what you are experiencing is even happening?

That is what our evening was like today. Lately, there has just been a series of bad events with extremely sick family and friends, and in the middle of all that, Mom is getting worse and worse.

So tonight, as Mom was agonizing over the calendar again, Dad and I were trying, to no avail, to help her understand what was going on. Then all three of us started laughing. Laughing because it seemed like no matter what we did, nothing seemed to make sense. It was as if we could not understand how the heck life had gotten to this point where writing a lunch date on a calendar ended up being a monumental and anxiety ridden event.

I think sometimes in life we laugh because if we didn’t laugh, we would be crying.

Over the past few weeks, Mom has been more and more confused. Today I was doing the dishes and the water was on when I heard Mom talking. I thought she was asking me a question, so I turned off the water and asked her what she needed. She said “I wasn’t talking to you, I was talking to the person sitting next to me.” Then she paused and said “Oh, there isn’t anyone next to me, is there?”And she started laughing at what had happened.

We are in one of those times in our lives where everything is a mess and you go through every day just trying to survive and get to the next day. We are so worn out now that there is nothing else to do but laugh, which is probably about the most fun we have had for weeks.

So, don’t be afraid to laugh, even when things are awful, because laughter is a gift. Even in hard times laughter helps lift our spirits, it is a way of giving up trying to control everything, it allows us to let go of all that anxiety, and it tells us that in some small way everything is still alright.


Rev. Katie


  1. If we were not all able to laugh, I don't know how we would get through this time with my mother, too. Thank you for posting this. Sometimes, it seems like laughing in the middle of a heartbreaking situation is somehow wrong, but it's not. It goes farther toward holding us together and bringing us all into the immediate moment. This post is a gift.

  2. Dear Rev. Katie,
    Thank you for your blog and this post reminder about laughter. What does the Bible say--Laughter is a good medicine or Laughter does the heart good?
    Your blog is a blessing.
    Take care,
    Helene Powers

  3. Dear Rev. Katie,

    I wrote you a long post about your previous essay on your experience with bi-polar disorder but somehow it got lost in the internet. I was very moved by your thoughts, compassion and insight. My family has a long history of depression, that people seldom discuss or acknowledge.

    P.S. Here's my attempt to spread a little more laughter in the world. My dog starting showing up in my blog posts about organized caregiving groups and you can guess what happened! He just started his own Facebook page. Here's the link: Enjoy!

    With gratitude,
    Helene Powers
    one of Laurel Lippincott Amabile's childhood friends

  4. MamaK,
    I am glad you are finding laughter in your life! Thank you for reading the blog. Blessings to you and your family!

    Rev. Katie

  5. Helen,
    Thank you for your kind comments. I find it amazing how the Internet is allowing us to support each other. Your blog is great and so helpful! And your dog is super cute. I "liked" Pip on Facebook. We actually got my Mom her dog for her treatment so she had someone she could care for and animals are so healing. Unfortunately he is fighting with our other dog and Mom just got bit by him in the middle one of the fights. We believe pets are family forever, but now don't know what to do about Mom's dog because he is a safety risk. :-(

    Sorry your post about the bipolar post got lost. Families do have such a hard time talking about mental illness, but the denial only makes it worse.

    Thanks for creating a community for caregivers with your blog!

    Rev. Katie

  6. I agree 100% with this. If I ever lose my sense of humor I will be in real trouble. It is only being able to laugh at the things that I do because of the dementia that helps to keep me sane and able to go on each day.

    *goes to check out Helene's blog as I love laughter where ever I can find it.*

  7. I've discovered your blog through Stumblinn, and I'll be following along on your journey with your mom.

    I so agree with you about the laughter. My husband has Alzheimer's.....and laughter is a huge part of our life. Like you said, 'if we don't laugh, we'll cry'...

    I love the picture of your mother with the beautiful Cavalier.....we're the mom and dad to a Cavalier. She brings so much joy to our life.

  8. Dolores,
    Thanks for following the blog and thanks to Sumblinn for suggesting it to you. It is great that you and your husband find laughter in your life!

    Our Cavalier is super cute but attacks our other dog. His behavior might be getting too dangerous. We need to call the dog trainer about him again I think. I am glad yours brings you joy.

    Dogs are one of the things in life that can make us laugh!

    Rev. Katie