Yep, I just quoted an Indigo Girl — I was quite a big fan in college and still love their music. Besides, the quote has helped me through some hard times in that it gave me permission to laugh when maybe it wasn’t so appropriate. Yes, I laugh at inappropriate times, and I am going to tell you ALL about it! I am doing this with the hope that I can use more humor about awful things in future blogsand not have you all cringe in horror at my insensitivity.
Joking is a difficult thing because what you find funny others might not. My family has used humor a lot in dealing with my father’s Alzheimer’s Disease and sometimes I feel guilty joking about things related to his disease, but I seriously do not know what else to do. I refuse to feel pain every time my dad talks in riddles, thinks I am my sister, or tells me the same story for the fifth time. Some of the humor is used with my dad and he can laugh off his confusion — I actually thinks he appreciates this. BUT, some is “behind his back.” Joking behind his back may seem horrifically cruel but Alzheimers is a ridiculous disease and you find yourself in situations that there is no appropriate way to handle. Humor helps me cope!
Lets give some examples, so you don’t all think I am a cruel monster. The first one was in front of my dad:
Brother enters room carrying presents and places them in front of tree. Dad says, “Why are you so dressed up?” (Brother is wearing jeans and a curdoroy button down with a t-shirt underneath- kinda underdressed for Christmas if anything). Brother answers, “I am in a pageant.” Dad chuckles. Me, “What’s your talent?” My husband, “When is the swimsuit competition?” We all laugh hysterically. Not sure my dad gets the conversation, but the thought of my brother in a swimsuit competition is always good for a laugh.
Now for behind the back (deep breath – don’t judge):
I finish a conversation with a dad that makes no sense. Go into kitchen with brother, sister, and brother-in-law. I comment on how confused he seems right now. I share that ‘sometimes I am in these conversations and my response might as well be “dog pizza tablecloth” (said in robotic way with similar robot dance) because I have no idea how to respond.’ Chuckles throughout the room. So, that is not really THAT funny but you get the picture — I can’t think of examples from weeks gone by so this will have to do.
And I don’t plan on discontinuing my use of humor. Maybe it is rude, maybe it’s out of my own discomfort in knowing how to deal with it, and maybe I am avoiding dealing with pain. I don’t know! What I do know is that humor is a valid way of dealing with pain and I like it and plan to continue to use it to my advantage. In fact, I will use it more in my blogs and if I offend anyone, feel free to let me know but I probably won’t apologize because an Indigo Girl told me I could laugh!