You would never think that grief and humor go together. But sometimes they do.
It’s been ten years since my husband died. My daughters, who were so young back then, have grown into beautiful young adults.
The three of us have each gone through many different stages through the years. There was shock, grief, anger, anxiety, depression, strength, and so many more.
My youngest daughter, now 21 years old, is in a new stage. It is a stage I did not really understand at first. I will call it the humor phase.
As a college student, she meets new people constantly. New people inevitably ask about her family. It was always uncomfortable for her to break it to people that her father died. We all know the awkwardness of that.
“So what does your father do?”
“Oh he died.”
“I’m so sorry.”
They end up feeling bad for you and then you feel bad that they feel bad. The worst.
So she sometimes responds to “I’m sorry” with “Why? Did you kill him?”. Then she laughs to break the awkwardness. She says it works.
Her favorite thing to do is TikTok. I do not have a TikTok. I have Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram but that is where it ends for me. This is where I am showing my age.
She makes videos. They did not start out being about death but they have slowly morphed into that. They are dancing, singing, funny videos about being the child of a dead parent. And there is a whole community of kids who do these. There is a huge audience for them and many have gone viral.
Like I said, it took me a while to warm up to all of this. Death is not supposed to be funny. Her dad died – that is tragic – not a joke. But it helps her to cope and get her feelings out in her own way. And to me, that is the most important thing. Anything that either of my daughters do to help themselves is ok with me. And I also love that she found a community of like-minded people who have gone through the same thing.
We all deal with loss in our own way and I would never judge how anyone gets through it.
My favorite story is her latest. She goes to school in New York City. One day, she was being cat-called by a man while walking down the street. When he yelled, “Who’s your daddy?”, she yelled back, “He’s dead.” That shut the guy up.
Let her make all the jokes and TikToks she wants. She is not harming herself or anyone else. She is actually helping herself. I’m ok if she’s ok.
As a retired RN, my colleagues and I were well aquatinted with “black humour” as a way to cope. During the 11 months that my husband was dying we were very fortunate to have the opportunity to say everything that needed to be said. We cried, we laughed, and yes, we sometimes shocked our adult children with our use of black humour; but it helped us bear the unbearable.