Let’s face it- life can be very difficult and sometimes down right unbearable at times. All of us have gone or will go through adversities during our time on this planet. This is especially true for special needs parents , for whom the daily struggles with their kids can weigh them down physically, mentally, and emotionally. I can definitely be counted among this group during certain periods over the past 15+ years, to the point where I had almost forgotten how to laugh. Somewhere along the way, I started to lose my humorous self about 5 years ago, and was temporarily replaced by an intense, serious person.
I was always Brian’s “Super Mom”: always on a mission, always trying to put out fires, always searching, seeking, and advocating. Stoic on the outside, but miserable on the inside. Worn down, but kept going because there is no choice. Wanting to cry, but too tired to even do that on some days . Losing myself to the point where I really didn’t want to get out of bed a lot of the time, yet I needed rest desperately. What happened to the fun-loving girl that I used to be? I missed that girl and so much wanted her back in my life! I knew that I was really in trouble when one day I had no desire whatsoever in ever going outside of my house again, which was so unlike the Brenda that I used to know. I had finally hit my brick wall.
I had to very reluctantly admit that I needed help- first to myself, then I came clean with a close friend, who is coincidentally a therapist, so it was truly a double bonus, what a God send! She helped me to understand and see where I was trying to be “in control ” of my life, how I was operating out of a place of fear, (especially where Brian was concerned), and how I never really grieved Brian’s diagnoses, my colon cancer, my husband’s job loss, along with other “stuff” from my past. Gosh, there was a lot of painful work to be done and I am still a work in progress today! I will say that going through the emotional muck in my life was excruciating, but necessary for my mental release to a place of peace.. I shudder to think what would have happened to me without this professional help and the grace of God. I will always have this “Achilles heel”, but am now better in identifying and managing these challenges with the tools that were given to me: faith, hope, prayer, self-care, and a sense of humor. It’s too hard to manage this life on your own will and strength. Whenever I do leave my house now, I bring my “tools” along, especially a sense of humor, because it’s too important to leave behind!
Humor and laughter can help heal the body by releasing endorphins so that we feel better- that’s a huge bonus! I was encouraged by my oncologist during chemo treatments to find laughter wherever I could so that my immune system would become stronger. I still feel better after a hearty laugh no matter how difficult the day has been. Humor helps us to cope with challenges, gets our minds off of things that we can’t control, and enables us to forget our troubles, even if just for a little while. Lord knows special parents could use as much humor as possible in their lives! I love to be around humorous people, you know, the ones who cause you to laugh so hard that you cry! My friend, Karen, is that way-just thinking about some of the funny things that she has said or done over the years causes me to laugh all over again! Laughter and humor ultimately helps me not to take myself so seriously, reserving emotional energy for what’s really necessary. That’s a really good thing for me, my husband, and Brian.
Seeking humor, laughter, and fun is now as important to me as breathing air, so I tend to actively seek those people, places, and things that will make this possible. I love my funny friends; they are such a huge, healing blessing in my life. I also love humorous movies, jokes, and pranks. There is also nothing like a funny story to tell or hear that emotes the best belly laughs. It’s amazing how you can train your mind to seek these things and how your mental perspective can be altered for the better as a result of them.
There is also nothing like props to get a laugh fest going too: the above are compliments of my friend, Karen, who gave these surprise goodies to a group of our friends when we were all together last year. The prop possibilities are endless and so is the laughter!
Time waits for no one. We are reminded almost daily how precious and short life can be, especially as we get older-all the more reason to seek those people, places, and things that bring you joy and laughter, especially in the midst of life’s trials and tribulations.
Wishing you many laughing returns!! Until next time, thanks for reading. 😊