As part of the Screw Work Let’s Play 30 Day Challenge I have publicly committed to spending the month of June creating content for a funny book on grief and loss.
Yes, you read that right. Funny. Grief. Loss. Ok, it’s an experiment. Please just humour me.
Not so long ago I went through a right old ‘periodis horribilis’: an 18 month journey which started with my mum’s terminal diagnosis and ended with her funeral.
A hell of a lot happened in that time. A lot of tears, yes. A lot of anger, yes. A lot of alcohol, bad choices and regretful mornings, fuck yes yes yes. But what surprised me most was the laughter.
First, let me clarify. It was without a doubt the most difficult and painful time in my life to date. It threw my family and I up into a tornado of awfulness.
You know in disaster movies when the aeroplane door gets ripped off mid flight? It was a bit like that. Only without Tom Hanks. Or the CGI budget.
We live in fear of these kind of things happening to us and our loved ones. It seems unimaginable. Beyond cope-able (who says I can’t make up words?) But I realised this isn’t true. I discovered something I’ll never forget.
Everything becomes normal. Eventually.
And who can’t cope with normal? Except Lady Gaga of course.
Yes. Life goes on.
There are plenty of people out there who’ve had it far worse than me, I know. Some of them may be reading this right now. But let’s not compete. To state the bleeding obvious: bad things happen. To all of us.
We won’t last forever. Not me, not you, not even Ian Beale from Eastenders.
Yet we have no idea how to ‘be’ when it hits the fan. We aren’t taught about what happens when bad shit goes down – we don’t know what to expect from it, how to react to it, or the ways to express it. We have no set protocol to follow or manuals to pore over.
We are overwhelmed and totally lost. Like going to Ikea to find someone’s rubbed out the big arrows on the floor.
All we can do is cobble together a makeshift template from the snatches of signals we see and hear around us – on telly, in books and plays, at the cinema.
It’s these signals which subconsciously guide us on how we think we are expected to ‘be’ throughout this process. How to hold ourselves. What to say. Even how to dress or clasp our hands at the funeral.
And the number one rule: solemnity.
Frankly – and please excuse the frisky language – it’s all bollocks. There are no rules in these situations.
It’s all new to us. It’s all personal.
So. Yes. Life does go on.
Granted, it’s a sort of wonky, muffled version of life. Like a hall of mirrors at the bottom of the ocean. But it’s still life. And to me – where there’s life there’s humour.
Even at the darkest of times there is opportunity to laugh. In fact, it’s often the darkest of times that highlights the humour. The irony. The absurdity of life.
Having a sense of humour and being able to find the funny amid the fear is so important when going through tough times. Scratch that. It’s vital.
I wrote my first Funny Matters piece on this theme in April: How Jennifer Aniston can help monitor your mental health. The response I got back gave me the idea to write a series.
My 30 Day Challenge project is a product of those 18 months I went through. It’s about sharing the different aspects of my experience. Truthfully. Through my eyes. Through my sense of funny. To say loud and proud that it’s okay to laugh when the chips are down.
So. Watch. This. Space
And if any of this resonates with you in some way and you’d like to share your thoughts/experiences – or even if you’re just a big Ian Beale fan – I’d love to hear from you.
Oh. And ‘LIKE’ my Facebook page please. Or else.
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