I couldn’t catch my breath. I was in a public place and tears were streaming down my face. The threat of urinating on myself was real. I could not stop laughing. It came wave after therapeutic wave – the fits of giggles in between the gasps for air.
When I think back to the four days I recently spent in New Hampshire with two of my dearest friends since age 12, what I most remember is the laughter: tons of it – days of it – literally stomach hurting from it. I felt alive, refreshed, and so happy.
Traci and I met in the classrooms of our first year in junior high. We laugh now and say our friendship was grandfathered into adulthood. I am far too uptight and introverted to attract a Traci to adult Angela. But as adolescents, Traci and I fell into every sort of mischief together. My best, scariest, and smack-your-forehead stupidest stories no doubt involve Traci.
As I reflect now on our friendship and those magical days tucked up in the White Mountains together, I see how rare it is to find this type of friendship and fun and how desperately I need it.
Laughter is a form of healing. I can assert with certainty that laughing a lot is not likely on the to-do list of someone divorcing. But looking back I see how critical it was to my care in my divorcing days. In that time it was Marcy who got me through. She was a co-worker turned close friend in the year I was in the depth of my divorce. We lunched together every day and she made me laugh at least a dozen times every single time we were together. Whether it was our shared love of reciting lines from Tommy Boy or a weekend trip to Astoria, Oregon to hunt down the Goonies, she brought the gift of laughter into my healing first-aid kit. Those daily moments of laughter were the triage for my otherwise ruptured heart.
If you find yourself in the midst of dark days, it may not be on your radar to seek out those who are the source of spirited, bellyaching laughter. Who are those that remind you of the real you? Who is it that time never seems to pass in between your time together? Put those names on your to-do list. Whether it is for a weekend call or a chance to dine together, you may not realize how much you need them.
Some howls of laughter are sure to help your healing.