I use humour to get through life. A lot.
OK, singing I Feel Pretty when a couple of Barb's church friends dropped by, maybe over the top. But it sure helps with cancer, especially the way things are going. (How are things going? Like the guy who falls off a ten story building, and as he passes each story is heard saying So far, so good!)
"Chewy, I've got a baaad feeling about this..." (One of Barb's many nicknames is Chewbacca, for the way she looks first thing in the morning...and I'm a dead man now.)
"Could be worse...at least I'm not slow, soft, and ugly."
"Sure, I'm scared. The thought of having skinny arms and flabby triceps shakes me to the bone." (I don't have them.)
And so on.
It works for me, and that's precisely the problem. It pushes Barb away; she can't mourn as she needs to mourn, and love as she wants and needs to love.
When she told me this, not long ago, I was stunned. I had been thinking, Hey, positive attitude, keep 'em laughing and life's brighter...
But the thing is, brighter for me devalues the pain - and love - of someone else.
Can I change? Fundamentally, probably no, because I really don't feel the pathos of the situation (translation - I'm a shallow idiot). I'm OK with what's going on, and do my best to just enjoy the life I have, and not think about the future that won't be. And the laughs are genuine; a pretend-gravitas is going to be even more disrespectful to Barb that my more-than-occasional bubble-headed cheer.
But what I can do is watch what I say, and what I think, and gauge it against what Barb really needs to hear.
And right now, she doesn't need a constant stream of jokes.
She needs to be taken seriously, and I'll do my best.
But for you out there reading this...please, be mindful. I hurt someone I dearly love, and that can't be completely healed, not now. Don't go down this road. It can get lonely in the end.