March 12th, 2011
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Grief is a journey that sets its own schedule.

Grief is unique to the person and their relationship with the person who has died.  Some people cry, some talk, some paint and some even throw plates or other breakables to get rid of their frustration or anger.

 Unfortunately, there is no set time for healing.

It is always difficult to adjust to a life altering change and face the outside world on your own.  But since we are all in this together, it is essential to reach out and extend a helping hand and let others know they are not alone in their journey.

I found the following story by Ken Garfield of Knight Ridder Newspapers and am sharing it with you in the hopes that it will help you smile:
Don’t Let Death Have The Last Laugh
By Ken Garfield
Knight Ridder Newspapers
     We were on the way to her husband’s funeral when my sister turned to me in the limosine and said, “I wonder if I should have worn a black veil.”
     For just a second, I was taken aback.  How could she make a joke at a time like this?  Then it hit me.  How could she not make a joke at a time like this?
     When I realized what a brave and important thing my sister had done, I knew what to say.  “We still have time to run into Hecht’s and buy one,” I joked as the limosine drove on to the chapel.
     I never knew how sacred humor could be until tragedy struck our family.
     While my 51-year-old sister, Carol, was away on a weekend with cousins, her 56-year-old husband died of an apparent heart attack at their home in Boca Raton, Florida.  Eddie was a sweet and generous man who adored my sister.  In the last six months of his life, he finally landed a job he loved.  When they found my brother-in-law’s body in bed, they also found in the kitchen the lunch he had made for work the next day.
     The memorial chapel was filled with elderly folks from the condominium complex where he worked and did good deeds for his friends, the tenants.  Grief darkened our days, of course.  My sister and her husbad, who had chosen not to have children, traveled through life together as soul mates.  For one to suddenly lose the other after 26 years broke our hearts.
     But just when it seemed as if the darkness was about to overcome us, the light returned in the form of a funny memory or whimsical story.
     In his eulogy, my father recalled how Eddie had told Carol that he didn’t know where she was going on their next vacation — but he was going to spend it at home with his beloved ballgames and TV remote control.  Carol recalled that the only thing Eddie feared more than a shirt ant tie was a social event to dress up for, and she noted that her home was filled with well-wishers after the funeral.
     “Eddie would have hated it,” she joked.
     People who live with death know that humor helps mourners endure the pain.  Brandon Cook, of Hankins & Whittington Funeral Service in Charlotte, NC, said a funny story reminds the bereaved that life is a mixture of emotions.
     One story making the round tells of the daughter who had her mother’s coffin wheeled into the service after everyone was seated.  Mother was late for everything else, the daughter told the mourners, so why shouldn’t she be late for this?
     If you need encouragement to have a healthy laugh, Cook said, look to Proverbs 17:22: “A cheerful heart is a good medicine.”
     A hospice chaplain told me that humor becomes truly sacred when it helps you understand that grief doesn’t have to have the last word.
     I start welling up thinking about my sister facing life alone.  Then I’ll laugh at a funny story, and the tears subside.
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