Written by Clara Hinton
We all know that laughter is good for the body, mind, and soul. In fact, we now know that it has been medically proven that pain can be greatly reduced by the release of natural healers when a person is involved in some good, old-fashioned laughter. When a family experiences the death of a child, though, they often wonder if they will ever be able to laugh again.
Many parents who go through the pain of child loss express the fact that they no longer have the ability to laugh. Because their entire world has been turned upside down, very little, if anything seems funny. The comments and behavior of people that were once so funny now seem like nothing more than meaningless antics of another empty day. Parents who have experienced the death of a child have a new and different perspective of life.
Lack of laughter in a life can be devastating. We all need to take “laugh breaks” away from the often-harsh daily grind of life. Life can get so bogged down, so pressured, and so heavy. It is healthy to table our problems for a small period of time each day and just laugh. It is healing to release the pent up pressures of life before problems become so overwhelming and feel like they are too heavy of a burden to carry. Families going through the hard work of child loss especially need to take these mini laugh breaks away just to release some of the heaviness of their hearts.
When you don’t feel like laughing, what should you do? When your world is decorated in black following the death of a child, is there anything that can be done to bring some color back into your life and put a smile back into your heart?
Laughter is a natural response and cannot be forced. It does no good to lecture parents in deep grief about the benefits of laughter in their lives. The death of a child causes crushing pain and does not create an atmosphere conducive to laughter. However, there are things we can do to point us in the direction of eventually finding the healing of laughter once again.
Most people watch TV or rent movies. Choose what you watch carefully, making sure that clean fun is part of what you see. You might not even smile for several months following the loss of your child, but by watching a funny movie, you have chosen to take a mini laugh break that is very healing to you as parents and as a family.
Read a delightfully funny book. Get help from your local librarian or bookstore manager. Choose a tried and true classic that you know is light hearted in nature. By reading of the lighter side of life, your heart will feel lifted a bit. You will be feeding your mind a message of hope.
Visit places that have a joyful atmosphere. A park is a good example of a place to visit. It’s so much fun to watch a bird pecking for a worm, or to fix your eyes on a scampering squirrel carrying his winter’s feast. Watch a dog clumsily fetching a ball. By visually seeing lighter moments in life, you might surprise yourself with an occasional smile.
Think of a friend who used to make you laugh, and spend some time with that friend. Even in your lowest moments of pain from child loss, a friend can often bring you the much-needed comfort of a smile.
Finally, remind yourself repeatedly that laughter is a necessary, welcome part of healing.