Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

October 4, 2012

It's time to lighten up

By Rebecca Todd

— When someone you love is no longer there, has moved on to the great unknown, and you suddenly realize you will not be seeing them again in this life, emotions begin to swirl. There is, of course, shock, overwhelming sorrow, aching loss, regret, and helplessness. These are the things that make up grief. This is what one expects to feel at any memorial service.

What one does not usually expect at such a service is laughter, and lots of it.

I'm not talking about laughter such as that of the businessmen who chortled over the passing of Ebenezer Scrooge in Dickens's A Christmas Carol; not the bitter, vindictive laughter of those done wrong by he who has passed. This is the laughter of those who have gathered to celebrate a life well-lived; someone who brought laughter and smiles while she lived and would love nothing more than knowing that her love of life and those around her has lived on and will last for many years to come.

I've just come from such a memorial for my much-loved Aunt Marion, and I have to say it was one of the best times I've had in a long time. Not only did I get to gather with a group of people I don't get to see often, people who shared so much of my childhood, I got to relive some great times and laughter created by someone who helped to teach me to face life with laughter; someone without whom I would probably not be able to write a weekly humor commentary column; someone who would probably read these first few paragraphs I've written and think that they were sweet, but would let me know that I probably needed to move it along, lighten up a bit and quit laying it on so thick.

My family is not really one to pull any punches. They kind of like to lay it on the line.

So here goes: it's time to stop taking life so seriously and learn how to laugh at life. The American people as a whole need to lighten up and get over themselves. Point blank, there is humor in every situation in life and if you can't find it, you're going to be miserable. Inevitably the miserable are not satisfied with suffering in silence. They like to drag everyone else around them down as well. I say we need to reverse that action.

Let's bring back "laugh and the world laughs with you" and get rid of laugh and someone will sue you, and form a protest group, and write you hateful e-mails, and post nasty things on the Internet about you, and the paparazzi will follow you, and you will have to move, and live in a cabin in the woods, assume a disguise, and small children will point at you with fear and loathing, and you will end up an embittered, old crow who talks to cats and screams at trees.

Where was I going with this again?

Oh, right. Lighten up. Laugh more. Find the humor in every situation. Because it's there; it's always there.

And when you find it, it's so worth it.

- Rebecca Todd is a freelance writer and the author of the book "What's the Point?" available at booklocker.com. Contact her at btodd@tds.net.