If you’ve read a past All Will Be Well post you know that I loved being married. You’ve read of my love for my husband, his love for me, and our all around love of life. You’ve probably felt sorry as you learned of our suffering, our heartbreak, and the fear in which we lived for years as we braced ourselves for a potential leukemia relapse. You may have even shed a tear thinking of my tremendous loss this past May when Dan passed away after a final relapse took him from me. But this post isn’t about that. It’s not about loss or pain. It’s about laughter. And how it helped us survive.
Dan was witty. I am silly. Together, we laughed. A lot. In fact, looking back, I think it was one of the healthiest aspects of our marriage. We spent time making each other laugh. It’s the fun we had together on regular evenings that I miss the most when I’m alone in our apartment now. It’s the countless inside jokes we shared about little things – from giggling at Alex Trebec while watching Jeopardy! to smirking at his “you picked me” sarcasm after a goofy antic. I miss the outrageous dance pose I could strut and his resulting smile that said “I love you.” I miss his guaranteed laughing fit if I ventured anywhere near his feet with my tickling fingers. Ultimately, I miss those intangible moments that collectively amounted to our mutual marital happiness. I miss the laughter that only my husband could bring.
It’s well-documented that laughing is a good thing. It literally triggers the releases of happy hormones called endorphins. I’m sure you’ve heard the adage “laughter is the best medicine’ – Dan and I wholeheartedly supported this claim. Sure, we knew that the chemo was necessary to kill Dan’s persistent leukemia, but we also knew that if we didn’t want our marriage to go right down with the cancer, we needed something powerful to withstand the chemo’s poisonous toll.
Laughter was something to hold onto as the stress, the fear, and the setbacks repeatedly threatened our happiness. We survived on laughter. Laughing at and with each other was part of our routine and it allowed us to work together in the tough times and make the most out of the horrible dilemmas we faced. Because we were used to laughing with each other, we could find humor in the fact that his hospital unit was ALWAYS out of vanilla ice cream when that’s the only kind he craved, or how we literally could NEVER get through an entire Price is Right showcase showdown without an interruption for vitals, housekeeping, a bandage change, or various other hospital necessities. The point is, we laughed. And our marriage thrived in the face of fear.
Laugh more today. Tickle your husband. Strike a pose. Develop the tools you’ll need to survive in life when something inevitably changes your plans. Practice working together so that when life hands you those proverbial lemons – you’ll know exactly what to do.
Hanna believes that love is the reason Dan fought as long and hard as he did. She believes that love heals, and hopes that through her story others will learn to find joy, big and small, in every single day.
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