Friday, July 3, 2015

Laughter and Tears

Been thinking a lot this week about the line between laughter and tears.

Because, if you're like me, you've probably laughed til you cried...right? I have.

Isn't that just the BEST feeling?

I started thinking...I don't think I've ever cried until I laughed...but then I remembered several times. Several really sad times...that ended with laughter.

There was that time at my Grandmother's funeral: We, my little family, my Dad and Clara, my sisters, my brother...all their families...were all seated neatly in rows at the front of the funeral home.

My Grandmother was a southern lady. She got up early every morning and dressed for the day. Her nails were always painted. My mother-in-law likes to tell the story from my wedding. She said the florist asked my Grandmother what color flowers she wanted in her corsage, and she said my Grandmother replied, "I want it to match my nails."


Her hair was always done. I remember, at night, she would pull off a sheet of several "squares" of toilet paper. She would bobby-pin one end to one side of her head, wrap it around the back of her head...and bobby-pin the other end to the other side. Strangest thing I've ever seen.

She wore panty-hose. She carried a "pocket-book," not a purse. Her jewelry was always right on point. I don't know if that was always her style, or if my stylish mother helped her along the way...either way, she always looked good. Dignified. Prim-and-proper. Lady-like.

I remember when she was hospitalized...near the end of her life. My two sisters and I, and Holly, we flew out there to see her. We went straight to the hospital. Holly looked really cute. She was in High School at the time. She was wearing these jeans that her Aunt Robin had gotten for her. They had some slight rips in them (not all the way couldn't see her skin) and there were a few places, a very few places, where they were splattered with white and pink paint.

Keep in mind that we rarely saw our Grandmother. She lived in Virginia, my sisters lived in Texas...and Holly and I lived in Arkansas. So, we maybe saw her once a year...if that.

Anyway, we walked into the hospital...straight from the airport. My little grandmother was laying in a bed in the far side of the semi-private room. Her bed was by the window. She was always such a strong woman, but that day...she looked so frail and tiny. But she still had her quick wit, because she took one look at Holly and said, "well, I reckon we should've taken up a collection to buy you some new jeans. Yours are all ripped up!"

It was hilarious.

My Grandmother was very specific about how she wanted to be "laid out." If there was something she didn't like, she would say it "didn't suit her." We knew that we'd better send her off right. And we did.

But as we sat there in the quiet, wiping our tears on that sad sister, LEANNE, leaned over and said something along the lines of, "we should've put Grandma in a mumu..." and we all just lost it.

I'm sure the people behind us thought we were all just overcome with emotion, what with our shoulders shaking and us gasping for breath and all the tears. And we were...just not the kind of emotions they thought.

Because my Grandmother? In a MUMU? In her casket?

Well, she would just DIE...because that would most definitely NOT "suit" her at ALL.

Not at all.

"Laughter can conceal a heavy heart, but when the laughter ends, the grief remains." Proverbs 14:13

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