2021 - July - Gazette - Life with Tears & Laughter

By: Jackie Naginey Hook
Thursday, July 22, 2021

Life with Tears & Laughter

When people from a Christian tradition provide me with the honor of officiating their loved one’s funeral services, a common scripture reading they request comes from Ecclesiastes 3. A few of the words that are comforting for them and ring very true for me are: “For everything there is a season… a time to be born, and a time to die… a time to weep, and a time to laugh.”

Just as each year has seasons, so do our lives. For each of us there is a time to be born and a time to die. We also have times to weep and times to laugh. In most services I facilitate, both of these occur. Weeping over a physical presence that is no longer here and laughing with stories about happy and funny memories. Both are healing. At services and support gatherings I sometimes tell the participants that laughter and tears are welcome.

At these gatherings around death, tears are accepted – sadly one of the few spaces in our culture where that is the case. But laughter isn’t always accepted or expected, even by the people laughing themselves. Unfortunately, for many guilt rears its head along with grief. Grievers feel guilty if they feel happiness and joy. The message I want people to hear is you can still honor your loved one by laughing – and wouldn’t they want that for you? Laughter is very human, healing and relieving.

Research on the role of humor has found that it provides many physical, emotional and social benefits. Humor reduces pain, stress, depression and anxiety, while it increases the immune system, relaxation, feelings of well-being, and bonding among friends and family. And research about humor and grief shows that even if mourners don’t value laughter and other positive emotions, experiencing them leads to less grief. If you’d like, you can seek humor – share funny stories, watch comedic shows and movies and check out laughter yoga! Trust your unique journey and allow weeping and laughter when they visit.

Even with those benefits, for some people laughter is hard to come by after a death and that is okay too. Depending on the circumstances, relationship, age, etc., humor is not an accessible emotion. One group for which laughter may be distant are parents who lose pregnancies and young infants. The memories for this group might not even include holding the baby in their arms, and all of the dreams they had for that child are lost.

However, for those who have experienced pregnancy and early infant loss there is a local group working to help comfort these parents and their families. Footprints in the Field is a community memorial garden dedicated to those pregnancy and early infant losses. With the generosity of Calvary Baptist Church, Cathy Holsing and her family brought community members together to raise money to create the remembrance garden on the beautiful grounds of Harvest Fields. This garden is a place to remember, reflect, mourn and heal.

Phase One of fundraising brought the gorgeous gazebo that frames the peaceful space, and Phase Two – going on now – will provide landscaping around the gazebo and 15 river rocks engraved with the names of the lost babies. If you would like to join Koch Funeral Home and contribute to this important effort, please visit their gofundme.com page.   

And if you’d like to participate in our educational and support programs, you’re invited to:

For more information, please visit the Bereavement Gatherings and Events page on the Koch Funeral Home website. To reserve your spot and receive the invitation links, email Jackie@JackieHook.com, call 814-237-2712 or visit the Koch Funeral Home Facebook page @kochFH.

Until we meet again, we hope you’re finding time for weeping and laughing in the current season of your life.

Jackie Naginey Hook, MA, is a spiritual director, celebrant and end-of-life doula.  She coordinates the Helping Grieving Hearts Heal program through Koch Funeral Home in State College.  For more information, please call 814-237-2712 or visit www.kochfuneralhome.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment
Name*:
Email:
Comment*:
Please enter the numbers and letters you see in the image. Note that the case of the letters entered matters.

Comments

Please wait

Previous Posts

2021 - December - Gazette - Life, Love and Light

Life, Love and Light If you’re driving on South Atherton Street in State College this New Year’s Eve, we hope you notice the luminaries on Koch Funeral Home’s lawn. Each one of these luminaries re...

2021 - November - Gazette - Collective Grief, Collective Gratitude

Collective Grief, Collective Gratitude Our Monday’s Moments at Millbrook Marsh program, in conjunction with Centre Region Parks and Recreation (CRPR), includes time for sharing, talking about diff...

2021 - November - CDT - Helping Hands

I love Thanksgiving! With its focus on family and gratitude, it’s one of the best holidays for me. Both of our children will be home this year, and since we’re all fully vaccinated, we’ll get to sp...

2021 - October - Gazette - Have the Talk of Lifetime

Have the Talk of a Lifetime It was our usual Monday morning walk through the neighborhood about one month ago. My husband, John, and I were a little over one mile in and walking up a hill when he ...

2021 - October - CDT - Active Life

Community I’ve been thinking about the beauty of “community” lately. In my work, I have the privilege of seeing it time and time again. We invite people to gather together around a specific event,...

2021 - September - Gazette - A Place to Take Your Grief

A Place to Take Your Grief When my husband and I were living through the years of losing our first six pregnancies, angels became significant to me. Angels symbolized the lives that began in me an...

2021 - August - Gazette - Courage

Courage While driving through the western U.S. on a recent trip, I was struck by several acts of courage I saw during my travels. Park rangers at the Grand Canyon who walked out on the sheer ledge...

2021 - August - CDT - Helping Hands

I’ll always remember where I was. Like many other Tuesday mornings, I was following along with my Rodney Yee morning yoga DVD while our infant son lay next to me. When I finished, the TV was on NBC...

2021 - June - Gazette - Intimacy with Disappearance

Intimacy with Disappearance In his meditation on vulnerability, poet and author David Whyte wrote: “…The only choice we have as we mature is how we inhabit our vulnerability, how we become larger...

2021 - May - Gazette - Breathe in Moments

Breathe in Moments One by one each of us entered the glass-enclosed circular chapel in the mountains of North Carolina. We removed our shoes and quietly sat down in a circle in the center of the r...