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Stages of Grief: Humor

By Crystal F. Clair

  1. A comic, absurd, or incongruous quality causing amusement.
  2. The faculty of perceiving what is amusing or comical.
  3. An instance of being or attempting to be comical or amusing; something humorous.
  4. The faculty of expressing the amusing or comical. (Definition provided by dictionary.com)

When I was thinking of this topic I was concerned that it might not be well received depending on where you are in the process of death and dying or loss. I hope that you will understand that I know there is a time an place for everything but this is an important step to healing.

Immediately one of my clients comes to mind as her husband died from diabeties about a year ago. They were married for 19 years and she would describe herself as a social butterfly in her community. She would go out every Thursday night with her girlfriends in the neighborhood for dinner. Her husband would always say to her, “have fun at the dead husbands club.” All of the women that she met up with had lost their partners and she found it very helpful seeing as how her husband was terminally ill. Every time she mentions The Dead Husband’s Club, she laughs because it reminds her of his voice and his sense of humor regarding this group of women. She continues to go out with these women and they offer each other a huge source of support and laughter.

I will forever remember this client as she is full of joy in the mourning and as she remembers her husband for his sense of humor. She is on a revolution to help other widowed women live to their fullest and at the age of 54 she is still laughing in the rain.

“Every widow wakes one morning, perhaps after years of pure and unwavering grieving, to realize she slept a good night’s sleep, and will be able to eat breakfast, and doesn’t hear her husband’s ghost all the time, but only some of the time. Her grief is replaced with a useful sadness. Every parent who loses a child finds a way to laugh again. The timbre begins to fade. The edge dulls. The hurt lessens. Every love is carved from loss. Mine was. Yours is. Your great-great-great-grandchildren’s will be. But we learn to live in that love.”
― Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything is Illuminated

Keywords: Grief, ways to grieve, loss, death, widower, widow, humor, terminal illness, support groups, dying.

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