Welcome to My World: The Pain of Laughter

My mother died in her 80s. We, the ten children, inherited her sense of humor. We, the children, in Mom’s footsteps did anything to get a good laugh.

I can still recall the day, in my early 40s, Mom in her 80s, when I picked her up to visit my sister, Gladys, in the hospital. She had minor surgery and was ready for visitors.

Anyone knows, who ever had surgery, that laughter can be painful. Mom and I hadn’t planned on giving Gladys any pain. But it happened anyway.

When we stepped into Gladys’s hospital room, she was sitting up in bed, smiling, at least until she saw Mom. Mom, for no reason whatsoever, started laughing. I, too, started laughing for no reason. Then Gladys, clutching her belly, started laughing and yelling at the same time, “Get out of here!”

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Mom and I held our nose, a trick she taught us as children to stifle a laugh, and rushed back out into the hall.

Within a few minutes we were able to control our laughter. Mom said, “I’m OK now. Are you OK?”

Confident, I said, “Yes.”

We made our second entrance into Gladys’s room. Again, for no reason whatsoever, all three of us burst into laughter. Gladys, once again, holding her belly, yelled, “Get out of here and don’t come back until you’re done laughing!”

Again, we entered the hallway and stifled our laughter. This time we stayed there at least five minutes making small talk. “Maybe this time,” Mom said, “we shouldn’t even look at each other.” I agreed.

Mom then called into the room, “Gladys, we’re coming in again. This time we’re not going to look at each other and see if that works.”

“OK,” Gladys yelled back.

We made our third entrance not looking at each other. Finally, it worked. We had a great visit while Gladys’s belly rested from the pain of laughter we somehow created. Laughter is indeed good for the soul.