19 Jun Laughing about Death
A comedy writer, it’s not impossible that I can make a joke that will offend or be hurtful, especially during a challenging time, so it was heartening to read what Amanda Woerner wrote in Women’s Day that laughing about death may be useful. She urged us not to be afraid to laugh, pointing out it can help us get past the idea that death is always terrifying or horrible.
When my older brother was in hospice with just a few days to live, he asked me to pick up spaghetti and diet soda for him. As I entered his room, he asked, “How may cans did you get?”
“A lifetime supply,” I joked. “Six.
He laughed, giving me permission to continue being playful. As I twirled the noodles onto a fork so he could eat it in bed, he asked, “What kind of pasta is this?”
“It’s spaghetti to die for,” I teased. We listened to music and laughed, which felt right to both of us. Hospice was liberating as we weren’t burdened by unrealistic hopes or the inability to be honest. “These last few days with you are the best memories I’m taking with me,” he said. He hadn’t always enjoyed my sense of humor, finding me too bold and outrageous. Making his final days fun was truly important. It helped both of us cope.
Trying to take the edge off dying is also my goal in designing personalized cremation urns. The visual reminder that a loved one had a good life has to be consoling.