My good friend Halley has a great sense of humor. Her mom has cancer, yet here Halley is, talking about elephants and farting and making me giggle.
She and I both felt that death and dying are topics worth talking about. Please read on for her contribution, and don't be afraid to laugh. This girl is all about finding the joy amidst the grief.
Death is a Fart Joke Gone Wrong
Death and dying aren’t something that most people are comfortable with. When people ask me how my mom is doing, I usually have to scrape up something to say like, "She’s keeping her spirits up" or "Still got cancer." It’s awkward for everyone. What do you say? How do you act? It’s like an elephant in the room has just farted in your face. You slowly want to baaack away from the stench of tense conversations.
My mom was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer and it’s been the most poignant experience of my life. I’ve felt a lot of intense emotions - despair, hope, joy, sadness. What’s unexpected is that there are positives; although they certainly don’t outweigh the unfairness that she’s sick, they help ease the pain.
She is surrounded by people who love her. The end of someone's life is when you see the essence of their existence. She's uplifted by friends who go out of their way to make her comfortable, happy and cared for. There is a constant stream of visitors popping in to check in on her. Which has been in part because as a massage therapist she was there to help people feel better, to ease their suffering and was always willing to go above and beyond to bring relief.
Her spirituality has been her constant companion. My mom believes in meaning in life and death, which is a solace for her in this trying time. Her beliefs give comfort and meaning to this unfortunate event.
Gratitude. Enjoying the last bits of life and being grateful for them. A tiny bite of a honeycrisp apple, roasted brussel sprouts and pumpkin soup are on her list of things she doesn’t take for granted anymore. Lying in her own bed versus being in hospice brings her so much joy, and it’s all a satisfying experience.
This is a worst case scenario, but even then it still has its up points, showing that life has a lot of offer us even when we’re at our lowest. This is why we need to talk about it, to give ourselves the chance to live fully. It’s awkward and serious but it makes us stronger and deepens our connection with life.
If it gets too heavy, you can always lighten it with a fart joke.