Good Medicine

Humor is a big part of our home. We like to laugh and we do it often. I’m realizing it’s sort of a love language, here. If you’ve hung around long enough to be teased and ribbed, you’re IN. You’re part of our tribe, for better or for worse.

Sometimes, teasing goes too far and feelings get hurt. That’s not okay. But generally speaking, we can all take a joke and enjoy the give and take. We try to be good about checking in with one another to be sure we aren’t hitting tender spots that need protecting, not poking.

Several days after diagnosis, we sat around the table playing a game of Exploding Kittens. No kittens were harmed during game play, and if you enjoy junior high type humor, you should check out this game. Anyway, the game was rather slow and subdued on this occasion–an attempt at normalcy even though everyone was feeling the full weight of our situation.

After the game dragged on for quite awhile, my husband played a mean card on me. Without missing a beat, I looked at him with my best pathetic face and said “But. . . I have CANCER!” My poor kids looked like someone hit them in the gut. My husband just shook his head and replied “I knew that was coming.” I laughed, and that was the beginning of healing.

As soon as I was able to make light of this serious situation, it freed my family to be themselves and be normal. You see, there isn’t a guidebook to this sort of thing. Nobody knows what I really feel inside or how I (or others) may construe anything anyone else says or does. In the simple act of laughter, the dam burst and I think everyone felt like maybe, just maybe, we will all get through this.

Cancer is not a laughing matter. But it’s also not the beginning notes of a funeral dirge. We can survive this.

They say the mama is the barometer for the household. She sets the tone and so much depends on her attitude. My family knows when I’m not okay. They know when something is off and when I’m faking. I pray that through this, I can teach my kids that authenticity is not only okay, it’s necessary to life. Even as I write this, I am learning it myself. I can cry. I can be sad. I can be unsure and apprehensive and scared. But I can also laugh in the face of adversity and show the world that there is joy in the journey, no matter how rough.