When my sister Jan died eight weeks ago, all the oxygen and laughter seemed to leave the world. I realized how much she had been the center of our Sisters of Hilarity gatherings several times a week. Even though I still have four sisters remaining, it hurt too much to see them at first. Each of their faces was like a reflection of my own gut-wrenching pain, a hall of mirrors full of zombies. Where was the spark of life in our eyes?
Two days after she passed, we received a smidgeon of tangible hope for LWJ, Life Without Jan. Her daughter made a speech blooper and we echoed it, not even realizing it was a blooper. Linda, whose brain must’ve had less grief-induced aphasia in that moment, said, “Girls, it’s not a temperature gauge, it’s a thermometer.” From that moment on, we adopted two new expressions into our unique vocabulary. We’ll always now think of a thermometer as a temperature gauge, and we now call our frequent bloopers Jan-isms. We recall the time we tried to convince Vickie to play charades with us and she said, “No, let’s just listen to Jan try to talk.” Jan laughed harder than anyone else.
She also laughed the hardest when I teased her about her helpful nicotine patches seven years ago. She said she no longer needed them but kept a few in her purse just in case, like a security blanket. I said, “Will you give each of us one to keep, please, so if you get cranky, we can slap it on your arm?”
The teasing/gentle mocking isn’t cruel. We mean it in the kindest way, and we laugh with each other rather than at each other. When we were young, I know for a fact we became offended much more easily.
Years ago the Lord showed me a scripture saying those who love His Word have great peace and don’t get easily offended. What joy we sisters of hilarity would all have missed if He hadn’t delivered us from the touchiness of being easily offended. He has done it with His love. When we remember deep in our bones how He loves us and always accepts us because of the blood of Jesus, we can take the teasing and be glad for the laughter. His acceptance makes us able to accept each other just as we are.
There is still a huge void in all our frequent gatherings and in our hearts. We cry whenever we need to. The biggest help for me has been to remember she is laughing more than ever now, in her real Home, with Jesus, the eternal wellspring of all pure joy and laughter.