After my mother died, a company with whom my husband and I do business called me. They wanted to arrange a time to deliver something to our home. The next afternoon, one of their associates brought us a beautiful, white orchid. This associate had lost her parents. She kindly offered some advice: It’s important to get out and see people. Don’t become a hermit. The orchid lived longer than her advice. It wasn’t because I didn’t believe her. I became somewhat of a hermit by default. Not because I forgot the advice, but because I simply didn’t have the energy to get out and see people. Non-action was much easier.
However, over a year passed. Recently, I called the company with some business questions. The same associate answered the phone. After I identified myself, she said, “How are you doing?” I replied, “I’m better, thank you.” She asked another question. “Have you been under the weather?” I replied, “I had a cold, but fortunately it was just a cold and not the flu.” She said, “The flu has been rough this year. I’m glad you didn’t get it.” From there, she addressed my questions. When you read the conversation, it sounds basic and simple, but it wasn’t. That conversation forced me to hoist my upper body over the rim of the crater.
When she asked how I was doing, I thought she remembered when my mother died. When I said, “I’m better”, I assumed she would understand that I was referring to my grief. So when she asked if I had been under the weather, I was slapped with two, powerful universal truths. Grieving people can’t believe that life goes on, yet life does exactly that.
A couple of weeks later, I had the opportunity to stay with my sister and brother-in-law while my husband attended a sales conference. I packed my clothes, laptop and dog and traveled to their home. They had emptied the master bedroom closet of all its contents in preparation for a redesign. A man came the last day I was there and installed the shelves, drawers and other compartments. That evening, I was helping my sister decide where to put things. We came across a photo of our parents. My sister said, “Do you remember that trip?”
My answer was laughter which made my sister laugh. These were good, healthy chuckles. Then we remembered something else, but this time, the laughter drove us to the floor. Soon, it created bellyaches, tears and the choppy sentences that occur when you’re trying to say something but are interrupted by your own laughter. It didn’t take long before we were lying on the floor, too weak with laughter to continue sitting. It was wonderful and healing. It enabled me to hike one foot over the rim and acknowledge another universal truth: Laughter goes on too.