Laughing at the Unlaughable
~ Amy Davis ~
Raising Outdoor Dogs
Humor has always been my response to stress, sadness and worry. I have an uncanny knack for making people laugh at inappropriate times in order to lessen the gravity of a situation. I lessened the grieving at my mother’s funeral by reminding the attendants of her clumsiness. I found a way to make light of my inevitable depression that followed by laughing at her lapses in parental guidance and the subsequent lessons I had learned from these.
Looking back on this ability and questioning its origin, brought me to the realization that it all stemmed from her. She was the one who taught me to laugh when there was no funny; to joke when it was awkward; to find the humor in the mundane. The first time I remember recognizing her skill to do this was when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
The lump had been found on a regular mammogram. She was never great with any sort of preventative maintenance when it came to her health. She took hormones at the sight of the first hot flash, she dealt with stress through cigarettes (and smoked like she was on fire), she even turned to serious pain medication at diagnosis of degenerative disc disease. Knowing her propensity to blow things off, I was shocked at her scheduling this test.
When she got the phone call that the lump was there and needed to be removed, she laughed that things like this only happened to her.
At the consultation, the surgeons informed her that removal of one of her breasts might be necessary. She laughed and insisted that as long as it was replaced with a much younger and fitter model, she didn’t care. “After all, they look like a pair of Indian moccasins hanging over my shoulder anyway,” she joked.
Her breast and two lymph nodes were removed and the report came back clear. Her cancer had been removed and a tissue expander had been inserted to build her a new breast. At this news, she began swim suit shopping. “If I’m going to have the breasts of a twenty year old, I’m going to dress like one too!” she’d say.
Many complications arose from her heavy smoking and use of pain medication. The tissue expander was removed and her dreams of ‘finally getting insurance to pay for something worthwhile’ were dashed. She didn’t care. She stuffed a sock in her bra and went on her way.
When she died last year, I looked at that empty shell that was left of my mom. My heart, torn from my chest, was completely crushed. A life had ended, a legacy gone, but that ability to laugh at the tragedies of life will live on through me.
After all, as my mom would say, “When life gives you lemons, grab the vodka – because vodka goes well with anything.”
I cannot thank Amy enough for sharing this story with us.
Please help us raise money and awareness about Breast Cancer research by donating in honor of Amy and memory of her mother, or for someone else.