The Dialectic Between Loss and Laughter

Fall is well underway and I have been remiss in getting a posting up. As most people have likely noticed after a spectacular sunny and warm summer, the air is crisper, the leaves are changing and the wooly sweaters are coming out from the back of the closet.  This morning I was mulching the garden (“putting it to bed for winter” as my neighbour would say) and contemplating that the leaves and earth I was turning into the garden were very much alive and vibrant in another season.  And yet, I was not experiencing sorrow for their decomposition, but rather gratitude for the soil they were being reincarnated into.  And I asked myself how I might apply this lesson in my relationships.

We have experienced some major loss at Island Family Counselling during the late summer and our energy has been put toward our care for our clients, our collective and ourselves.  As many of you know, we lost our wise and gentle colleague, Doug Emid late July and this was followed shortly by the death of our resident therapy dog, Beowulf.

Sometimes, it can seem like loss of loved ones comes as storm and I have since said goodbye to a much loved friend.  Originally, I thought this post would only be about loss and the process of mourning (you can view a previous IFC blog regarding grief on this site), but within these last months there has also been an increased appreciation for my colleagues at IFC and our clients.  Specifically, an appreciation of our humour and being attuned to how much we laugh and appreciate being in the moment.

This turn of events happened when a colleague commented on Doug and Beowulf passing around the same time.  She said: “those two loved each other so much I hope they are having fun wherever they are.”  This made me reflect on the fact that both held such unconditional love for all they met and both made me laugh, out loud, at every meeting.  This is such a gift for those who met them.  After this brief exchange with my colleague, I began to notice how much laughter happened in our office – between ourselves and with clients.  Even in the toughest of times, laughter remains therapeutic.

And this is not hearsay or romanticizing times of loss.  Laughter is proven to be an excellent overall health booster.  See for example:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K5yClbsdJkg

There is also a great article here that is worthy of reading: https://www.helpguide.org/articles/mental-health/laughter-is-the-best-medicine.htm.  Of course, there are probably many others readers have sought out in the past.

So consider, when was the last time you had a belly laugh?  Watched something so provocative of laughter you shared it with someone else?  Experienced shared spontaneous laughter with strangers?

So as part of my fall regime of mulching, baking and (sigh) washing dog towels after rainy walks, I will prescribe myself a healthy dose of Vitamin L.  I hope you do the same!

With much appreciation, Cole and the IFC Family

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