HUMOR HEALS LIKE GOOD MEDICINE by Kelly Seymour
I was sitting in a meeting one evening with other parents like me. We were all alumni from ICEC, an organization providing various therapies to our special needs children. The meetings were always moderated by a psychologist who helped us work through our grieving, healing, and milestones. Thank goodness because we needed all the mental help we could summon. You know that saying âIt takes a village?â It does. It takes a village of psychologists and pharmacists to get through such staggering times like that.
Nevertheless, it was quite a liberating group and it was the first time that I realized I could just be myself with no hang-ups, nothing to prove, and nothing to be egotistical about. It was an amazing time of self awareness, all the while dealing with the most traumatic moments of my life. You would think that dealing with all the hurt, pain and disappointment of having a child with special needs would only make me feel helpless, unhappy, guilty, and disappointed, but it was the opposite. I felt relief that Derek is who he is without any need to explain anything.
So this one mom started talking about her kids, how she had one child with ADHD, one with autism and one with some other undiagnosed syndrome. And I thought I had a full house. She went on to explain that her son was born missing several fingers. She was pouring out her heart to all of us when I suddenly burst into inappropriate laughter. It was awful. I felt ashamed at first because everyone was looking at me like I was nuts. They disapproved of my âbad behavior.â I couldnât stop, I was a runaway train at that point. Tears started rolling down my face. People started giggling as they watched me explode with the freedom that comes with pure laughter. The laughter was like rockets jetting out of my mouth. Finally I had to stop and explain myself. It took me several times to try and talk, I couldnât stop the laughing. Finally, I said, âIâm so sorry, but Iâm laughing because if I would have known you earlier, we could have given you four fingers! My son was born withextra fingers and toes â12 of each âwe had spares!â The room exploded in laughter. The other parents laughed like theyâve never laughed before. All the sadness, grief and disappointment was washed away for several minutes as we passed around a box of tissue to dab the tears of laughter streaming down our faces. It was much needed relief.
The absurdity of that sentence that came out of my mouth was appreciated by this crowd. This is the same crowd that can laugh at things you would never think someone should laugh at. Itâs like me saying, âOh, your kidâs room is a mess? Let my âborderline autisticâ son come over. Heâll line up all the toys and have the place spotless.â Only parents of special needs children and the friends and family that they are close too can feel comfortable laughing at that kind of darkness. Itâs such a sense of freedom that I canât explain when you can be safe enough to laugh at such serious circumstances. No one is offended, no one makes excuses for it, it is just us âbeingâ with what we have been given. Our adopted four-year-old son was born addicted to meth. His birth mother used drugs while she was pregnant with him. We recently ran with the kids in a childrenâs 1K race at a local festival and we joked that David would win the race hands down. We rarely see him walk. His preferred method of traveling is running. He runs down the street, in the house, wherever we go. We laughed that he sized up the other kids running the race, bysaying, âYou think you can beat me? I donât think so, Iâm powered by Meth. I got this thing in the bag.â
As bad as that sounds, you have to realize, itâs the adverse circumstances that our kids have sometimes that make you stop and think, âI have to laugh or Iâll cry.â We choose laughter, and sometimes it may not sound politically correct to other people, but I have nothing to prove to other people anymore. And being PC takes too much work. Iâm exhausted already.
Itâs like my 95 year old grandmother (âGagaâ) said to me after she observed a particularly hectic day we were having in my house, âHoney, you need to drink more.â Boy, Gaga had a way with humor and thatâs what keeps me going â humor. If I can make someone laugh for a minute when they are in the fight of their life dealing with such traumatic events, you better believe Iâm going for the funny bone. We have to just keep going and I think thatâs what laughter does. It just helps us keep moving through the day. Before you know it, youâve made it through a few minutes, and then youâve made it through a few more. Suddenly you realize youâve made it through a day with less tears than you had the day before and youâre still alive and youâre still functioning. I think thatâs what this is all about â finding a way to deal with what youâve been given and still being a functional, happy and positive human being.
Kelly Seymour, is a mother of three, one of whom has Jouberts syndrome. Kelly on occasion submits her insightful and warming reflections to the Childrenâs RARE Disease Network
Article Source: http://www.earticlesonline.com/Article/HUMOR-HEALS-LIKE-GOOD-MEDICINE/704009