Making my Mother Laugh Was the Best Thing in the World2011-10-28 at 04:25 am Blog RSS
People tell me I’m a funny guy. I don’t know where it comes from most of the time, but I come up with the stuff nobody expects me to say, and they laugh when it spews forth. Maybe that they hadn’t expected me to say what I said, was what made what I said so funny to say. Or something like that. I probably should have been a stand-up comedian, or a comedy writer, but the funny thing is, I never thought of myself as funny. It just happened that other people did. Not that that’s funny, the funny thing I mentioned, but it is in a funny sort of way. My best audience was always my mother. She had one of those deep belly laughs, like Buddy Young Jr’s mother in the film “Mr. Saturday Night”, and making her belly bounce with laughter was always a gift in itself.
When I was growing up, whenever something went wrong, my mom’s usual comment, her most often uttered phrase was, “Great, I needed that like I needed a hole in the head.” Wait…no, her most often uttered comment was “oh shit!” but her second most oft used statement was always “I needed that like I needed a hole in the head.”
In the second year of her cancer, the year it had returned and began to spread even faster, mom asked me to sit down one night for a talk. I was her caretaker and took her to chemo each week, and to her doctors the majority of the time, but she had gotten some results that I had not been with her for. I knew it was going to be bad. Used to be, sitting down to talk had always been fun; but by that point sitting down to talk had more often meant bad news. Sure enough, I was right. The cancer had spread to her skull and was eating a small hole into the bone of her skull. I don’t know why, but I didn’t miss a beat…”Great, you needed that like you needed a hole in the head! Does this mean they’re going to have to amputate?”
She just about fell on the floor laughing her ass off. And my mom was not a small woman, so laughing her ass off was a feat in itself.
When mom was in hospice, spending time with family and friends as the end approached, I said something out of the blue that set her off laughing. I do not recall what half-assed joke I spewed that she found so funny, but I do remember telling a friend about the incident afterward. My friend seemed surprised, almost shocked, that I was actually making jokes at my mother’s death bed. “Your mother is dying,” he had said, “how could you make jokes at a time like that? Don’t you get it?”
I set him straight, “Yes, my mother is dying, and I made her laugh…don’t YOU get it?”
In October of 2005, my cousin and I were making plans to run our own business together. The prospects were good, and our expectations of making a large income from it were high. We went to the cemetery together to visit mom’s ashes. Standing at the niche which held her urn, my cousin said that when we make enough money from our joint venture, we would be able to take her urn out of the niche and put it in a nicer niche, or a nice grave plot.
I agreed with him, and suggested that with enough money and enough Crazy Glue we can even glue her ashes back together and rebury her whole. I think that I heard her urn rattle inside the niche. I must have made her laugh again.
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