Today I am thankful for laughter.
A few days ago a friend of mine and I were discussing my Thanksgiving trip home to Michigan and he asked me to relay a message to my mom on his behalf.
“Tell your mom I read her blog every day,” he said. “And that I like it when she says fuck.”
I delivered my friend’s message when I arrived home earlier this week and my mom smiled and rolled her eyes, somewhat amused, I suspect, at the thought of a complete stranger quoting an early rosemarylambert.com post, but also a little bit embarrassed about having an f-bomb on record in what has become such an oft-visited diary bearing her name.
“Tell him I said thank you for reading,” she said sincerely.
The next morning while she and my dad and I were sitting at the counter having breakfast, one of the fifteen or so pills that my mom is now required to try and swallow each day got lodged in her throat and she started to choke. My dad and I tensed and waited for the spell to pass. When it lasted longer than either of us were comfortable with, we each grabbed one of her arms below the shoulder and hoisted her from her seat, trying to open her airway. We hovered over her for a long time, glancing at each other with panic in our eyes as she gasped for breath. After what felt like forever, my mom finally worked the pill loose and gulped for air and immediately began to cry. My dad and I followed suit.
The three of us stood there for quite a while feeling helpless and hopeless and bawling, our half-eaten bowls of oatmeal cooling on the counter, when my mom suddenly took a deep breath, looked me in the eye and mouthed “Fuck.” A sly smile spread across her face and her sobbing turned to laughter. My dad and I started to laugh too and that’s how we made it through breakfast that day.
In our house we’ve always had the good fortune of laughter. Lots of it. And even now, in the midst of what oftentimes feels more like a nightmare than a reality, we still laugh together, and it heals. Not in the way we all so desperately wish it would, but on some days it’s enough. And for that, I’m thankful.