LOL is computer speak for laugh out loud. You won’t believe this now, but, inexplicably, at some point in your dark journey, a spark of humor may ignite. I was not prepared for this phenomenon, and it startled me the first time I experienced it. Unconsciously, I wore black or gray clothes to work for a year. I firmly believed I would never laugh or even smile again. As I formed bonds with other parents who had lost adult children, eventually a spark of humor would creep into conversations. My good friend and fellow traveler from New Jersey and I began an e-mail relationship through a 9/11 e-mail support group. Adele also lost her son that day. In the beginning we were going back and forth between hysterical and comatose. Our messages were filled with despair. As the months went by, we were still grieving as much as before, but a bit of humor would creep in. She would joke about howling at the moon and disturbing the neighbors. I would threaten to punch the next person who asks me how I am. We even “joked” about driving over a cliff like Thelma and Louise. We were, and still are soul sisters. We conjured up all manner of novel ways to do ourselves in. Yes, it was dark humor, but humor nonetheless. I’m sure was part of the trauma, but it was healing too. When one of us is having a terrible day, the other will cheer her up with some outrageous comment. We joke about our anger and somehow it becomes less venomous. We joke about relatives who haven’t a clue to what we are going through and this makes them easier to bear. It may seem impossible that you will ever smile again, but someday the corners of your mouth will curl, and the smile you thought was gone forever will break out in spite of itself.
After ten years, Adele and I still have our dark days. Each anniversary of September 11 brings new hurt and reminders of a day we wish we could forget. As good friends as we are, we wish with all of our hearts we’d never met. We live in a different world than we did ten years ago. We are still searching for where we belong now. We take joy in our grandchildren and love to talk about our sons and remember the good times. Sometimes we still revisit the darkest days and wonder if the world will ever stop reminding us of September 11.
Healing may sneak up on you, be sure you don’t miss it.