I'm sure I smiled or maybe even laughed sometime during the first six months following Eddie's death. It wasn't until September of that year that I was actually aware of it though. I had attended a birthday get-together with a group of my friends. We talked, ate, and watched the birthday people open their gifts. I was glad to be sharing time with my friends, but what I was going through was always in the back of my mind. A few days later I received a thank you card from one of the ladies whose birthday we had celebrated. She said she appreciated the gift I had given her, but that more than anything she was glad to hear me laugh again. That took me completely by surprise. Although I had enjoyed the evening, I didn't even realize that I had been laughing.
At first I felt guilty. How could I laugh when Eddie had only been gone for six months? Wasn't it too soon for me to be laughing and having fun? Then along with the guilt I also started to feel scared. If I could laugh, did that mean I was forgetting about Eddie? How could I possibly forget that quickly? As usual, I looked through the books I had been reading for any information on laughing while grieving. I found that almost every book addressed the issue (which told me my feelings weren't any different from everyone else's), and they all said the same thing ... it's OK to laugh. God gave us the ability to laugh as well as to cry because laughter is as healing as tears, both emotionally and physically. It relieves stress, stimulates healing, and gives us hope.
I gradually started to accept that laughter and grief can exist together. Just because you have one doesn't mean you can't also have the other. It wasn't too soon for me to have fun, and I hadn't forgotten Eddie. I learned that it's not wrong to feel good sometimes, even after a tragic event in your life. Feeling good didn't mean that the grief had ended, but it did give me hope that I could enjoy life again. I wasn't being disloyal to Eddie by going on with my life. I found that the good days would come and go, just as the bad days still did. The grief went on, but I learned to enjoy the relief that came with being able to laugh again.
"A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones." -Proverbs 17:22
"He will once again fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy." -Job 8:21
"Laughter can conceal a heavy heart, but when the laughter ends, the grief remains." -Proverbs 14:13