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Of Nervous Laughter and a Needed Lil Girl

Blog written by: John-Paul Blix

Have you ever had a really good laugh, and thought, “I needed that?” Well, that is some fantastic insight on your part, because "you did need that." Your body was looking for a release. Sometimes when you hear a joke or watch a show that causes you to laugh, sometimes more than you felt it deemed funny, it may be your body saying, “You have some built up tension and anxiety, and laughing is letting you discharge some of that now,” in a healthy way.

I was a minister’s kid growing up and I would see it all the time in church, where someone would get the giggles. Often times they would need to excuse themselves, and I saw it so often, I knew the signs to look for in masking it, usually excusing themselves with a tissue over their nose to mask their expression. I do not know how other members of the congregation felt about that, but I imagine they suspected it was rude.

I thought it was hysterical.

Fits of nervous laughter could catch at any time during a sermon, or wedding, or in my case a funeral… as an adult. My grandfather meant the world to me, and when at his funeral, I was there with my family, and my sweet cheeked one-year-old daughter on my lap. I looked down at her, remembering that she had just been held in his arms a few weeks ago, the only grandchild he ever held, and with tears welling up in my eyes she looked up at me with her beautiful dark eyes, smiled, and puked all over me.


I swear I did not know what I fed that child that day, but it could have been every animal cracker ever made.

I could not help it, I burst out laughing, as I sat behind my uncle and his family, whom I strongly suspected felt that I was being rude, or did not wish to assist the mess. I could not get up to leave, I could not hold back how suddenly hilarious everything had become, and so I did the only thing I thought I could do, and pretend that my laughter was actually crying.

When you are at your beloved grandfathers funeral, with baby puke all over you, trying to clean it all up while fake crying behind your stuffy family members, the results are disastrous, and you just come of finding the whole situation more ridiculous and want to laugh more.

So I did.

I haven’t been invited to a family funeral since.

Afterwards, I was able to reflect more genuinely about not seeing my grandfather anymore, and how much I loved him, and know he loved me. He did not crack jokes, or bust up laughing himself from my memory, but I remember him smiling when watching a funny TV show. I thought about how he would have thought that his grandson having a comedic time dealing with his first child’s vomit volcano would have made him smile in amusement too.

Alas, three years ago, that special little girl was 19 when my grandmother, her great-grandmother died. She held my mother’s hand at that service, and provided healing once again with her calm, loving affect. Later, I told the story of how different it was 18 years prior at my grandfather’s funeral, and my daughter, my mother and others had a good laugh about it. It was the release we needed again. I'm sure my grandmother looking down from heaven thought it was funny too... and appreciated less of a mess this time.

John-Paul L. Blix

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