L is for Laughing Our Way to Death – and Beyond: #atozchallenge, Day 12

Marriage Within Truth

We laughed a lot when we were brand-new

We laughed our way into a marriage

Marriage that began with a slew of in-jokes

Marriage that produced two laughing children

Children whose giggles were balm to our souls

Children whose chortles were our favorite music

Music that filled our little home with delight

Music that told us we were getting this right

Right and left up and down laughter everywhere

Right from the beginning laughter filled the air

Air carrying mirth everywhere we went

Air lighter and brighter for our merriment

Merriment we shared with every passerby

Merriment offered freely and given with glee

Glee that swelled and filled our lives

Glee that sustained us when sorrow came

Came to take from us our precious second son

Came to show us the even then we could laugh

Laugh at gallows humor when that’s all we had

Laugh even through the tears we shed

Shed the mourning shrouds to tend to the living

Shed the numbness of grief with the best medicine

Medicine that offered healing no anti-depressant could

Medicine that nurtured bright living for our surviving son

Son who gave us so much reason for joy

Son whose happiness became precious treasure

Treasure each breath and tiny toddler joke

Treasure the dimples the giggles the squeals and smiles

Smiles we found again when our daughter was conceived

Smiles we clutched when told she might not live to be born

Born into this family fractured and remade

Born heathy and strong and ready to embrace hilarity

Hilarity she brought from her earliest days

Hilarity that made us a new kind of whole

Whole arsenal of humor our family shares

Whole of our secret weapon against life’s cruel snares

Snares like cancer we never saw coming

Snares that snatched away that big laughing man

Man whose barrel chest produced such wondrous guffaws

Man who once kissed a fish to make his girl giggle

Giggle our way through more than twenty years

Giggle like crazed children until we were in tears

Tears flow now for all that’s been lost

Tears that season our laughter with new sorrows

Sorrows eased by the humor we find

Sorrows unshadowed by little jokes left behind

Behind this great loss is even greater truth

Behind this darkness is a long laughing light



Jim and I laughed. Before we were lovers, we were friends, and we laughed. Once we were dating, the hilarity escalated.

One night, I called from work because he was going to give me a ride home. We lived at the edge of the Grand Canyon then, and I worked with a woman he’d casually dated before we met, and who was sensitive about his moving on. When he picked up the phone, and gruffly said, “Yes?” (Jim hated the phone!), I responded, “It’s me.”

“Me who?”

“Me me.”

A pause. Then, “Mimi? I told you never to call me here.”

Part of the reason I married Jim were his jokes (mostly off color), and his ridiculously improbable stories.It was during the one about the pomegranate that rolled up the hill that I knew I wanted to be with this man forever. Here was a man who could be silly with me, and would. But, when life was serious, he’d take me that way, too.

It got serious in 2003, when our second child suffered a brain injury at birth. It was Jim who made me laugh the first time, as he was getting ready to bring me home from the hospital where three-day-old Elijah was lying in a coma in the NICU. His joke was wildly inappropriate – but it fit a situation for which we had no rules, and I clung to it until life offered something better to laugh about.

Even when he was diagnosed, he still found things for us to laugh about. “Most of my life, I’ve worried about my weight,” he said. “But now I’ve got a magic wand. The weight just comes off!”  He joked about his terminal cancer as a “free pass” to eat and do what he wanted, because there weren’t going to be any repercussions worse than death.

His last joke came about a week before he died. I’d helped him with a shower I knew would be the last one, even though I don’t think he realized that he’d be bedbound from that point forward. He was lucid less and less by then.

I was helping him dress – something else he could no longer do on his own, and he caught our reflection in the mirrored closet door.

“Look,” he said, conspiratorially. “My wife’s here.”

I miss him – but we’re determined to carry on the laughter in his honor.

Come on back tomorrow, when

Marriage Metamorphizes with Metastasis.

Looking for more lovely L posts?

A mutual favorite song for both Jim and I:

One comment

  1. This is a wonderful poem and wonderful memories to be able to keep.

    And the line about kissing a fish made me spit coffee all over my computer.

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