In my family, when we lose someone, we often spend time reminiscing about funny moments in that person's life.
Once after my uncle Lewis passed, a lady came to visit and pay her respects. She was appalled and told us we needed to have more respect for the dead. My grandmother told her we had plenty of respect for the dead for we were celebrating his life.
Last week was the 20th anniversary of the loss of Charlotte, who was the mother of my best friend, Lisa. At Charlotte's funeral, I sat on the back row - the church was full and Lisa was surrounded by her family. As I listened to the pastor, all I could recall was a little off color joke that Charlotte would tell us when we were kids. She always said my Mom would not approve, so we weren't allowed to talk about this joke.
As Lisa cried and others sniffled, all I could picture was Charlotte telling that joke while all of us kids laughed hysterically - partly because it was funny, but also because it was taboo.
I was trying so hard not to laugh out loud in church. I buried my face in a Kleenex and a kindly neighborhood lady patted my shoulder telling me everything would be alright.
It would be days later before I shared this story with Lisa and she thought it was funnier than I did. So last week, I remembered my Mom's birthday as she remembered her Mom's passing. And we like to think that up in Heaven those two are having a fabulous time.
I believe that there are wonderful healing qualities in laughter. I believe that while you're sad to lose someone, it is wonderful to remember that person for the wonderful things they did, but also for the funny things that happened as well.