In Realistically Ever After, long-term survivor and new blogger Laura Ellington discusses healing humor.
Laughing Out Loud is filled with jokes Ellington uses to help her live as fully as possible. As an amputee, she likes to substitute the playful term, "leglet," for the traditional term, "stump." She refers to her disabled parking placard as her "Goddess tag."
Ellington's stories illustrate how making fun of challenges and losses helps Healthy Survivors regain a sense of control and add joy in otherwise sad circumstances. As a long-term survivor, I've experienced how humor builds courage and fortitude. If nothing else, laughing aloud feels good.
A few words of caution. Others may feel uncomfortable with your sense of humor. That's their problem, not yours. Also, if you're not ready to use humor for a particular situation, that's totally fine. Ill-timed humor can be harmful. What feels best for you is best for you.
As for friends and family, don't assume you can make the same jokes as your ill loved one--especially if the patient didn't say it first. During my initial chemo, a colleague quipped, "What some people won't do to get out of ER duty!" While meant to be funny, the comment pained me as I struggled with grief about not being able to care for patients.
"To laugh at what threatens you is to diminish its power to frighten. To laugh at what saddens you is to lighten the load of your grief." (Happiness in a Storm; p 326)