Laughing Through the Pain

Today is December 1st and I can easily say it has not been one of my better days. I could not figure it out right away but then it dawned on me that it has been been 5 months to the day since my Mom passed away. I just want to crawl up into a little ball on the couch, be left alone, and tell the world to suck it. Unfortunately I can't do that. So I tried to remember something good about life with Mom, and it didn't take long. So here is a Christmas memory I would like to share and it makes me appreciate that I had wonderful woman I could call Mom.

A few years ago my Mom almost killed my grandmother. My grandmother has severe asthma so she has to be careful about her breathing, laughing, etc. Well my grandmother thought it would be nice to share a holiday joke with my Mom. And my dear old Mother takes jokes literally. She doesn't understand the nuances or the double entendres or the play on words. She has the joke IQ of Forrest Gump.
So my grandmother asks my mom the following: "Why did Mrs. Claus tell Santa Claus she was going to town?" My Mother gave a perplexed look and shook her head saying she did not know. Well my grandmother told her the answer: "To blow a few bucks!"
Well my Dad and grandma start laughing, and laugh a little harder because my Mom did not get it as it just went right over her head.
My Mom started to think about the answer and did not really see humor. So she stated with a straight face, "I don't know why that is funny. I have got into town and blown a few bucks before. I have done it a lot of times and there is nothing funny about that."
Now my Dad and grandma are howling, and my poor grandmother is reaching for her oxygen because her asthma is getting the best of her.
Then my Mom continues with her quest for the truth by saying, "People blow bucks all the time. It happens every day. Why is that funny? Do they do something different with their money?"
By now my grandmother can't take anymore, and my Dad has tears rolling down his face as he takes my Mom into another room to explain the joke to her. A few minutes later my Mom re-enters the room blushing as she discovered the hidden meaning of blowing a few bucks and grateful that she did not kill my grandmother.


  1. I'm sorry for your loss, Mr. Shife. Five months is not long and I am sure you must miss your mother so much, especially now, around the holidays. That was a great story and it reminds me of the one my husband's aunt (who is well into her eighties) tells on herself about walking into a hair salon and asking how much it would cost for a cut and a blow job.
    She laughs when she tells the story and I love her so much for that.
    Keep writing about your mother.

  2. Anonymous12/01/2008

    hahaha that is so funny, now I see where you get your humor ;)

    and I say feck it anyway, it's ok sometimes to ball up on couch and tell the world to suck it. i did it yesterday and it was good too :)

    It does feel good to keep talking and writing about her. I did the same when I lost my grandfather 5 yrs ago (not the same, I know) but he was the closest to a father I had.

    Take care good friend.

  3. That is the most awesome holiday memory!!! My grandmother never tells jokes like that.

    My grandfather died in 2003. He was a total character. When discovering he was the same age as the pope, he asked me if I thought he could "take him" (keep in mind that my grandfather was like eighty at this time).

    And that's how I remember my grandfather: considering how he could how he would fair in a fistfight with Pope John Paul.


  4. You have to laugh or break your heart in this crazy world.

    Thanks for the story. I had the greatest mental picture of your grandma grasping for her inhaler with tears of laughter running down her face while mom looks on, oblivious, with a puzzled little frown...

  5. It was a wonderful story, thanks for sharing it!

    I miss my dad terribly all year long, but especially around this time of year--and anyway, like Ms. Moon said, it hasn't been long at all for you--only five months--

    And what Megan said should be set in the stone foundations of one's house--you have to laugh or break your heart--

  6. That's such a great memory. I'm sure you've got so many more. You are entitled to feeling the way you do. And if the world doesn't understand, then they can just feck it for reals.

  7. excellent memory

    worthy of clark griswold.

  8. Absolutely priceless! That gave me the first smile of my day.
    There was a time my grandfather nearly died laughing, but there was flatulence, my grandmother, and the floor involved. Perhaps I should leave it at that.

  9. I love that your grandma has a dirty mind. Gotta love that.

  10. Damn, now my co-workers think that I am psycho because I couldn't stop laughing. Nice job Shife!

  11. that was great man, what a memory!!!

  12. Anonymous12/03/2008

    What a great story. I hope it helped you laugh through the pain. When you remember your Mother like this, you honor her life. I'm sure she's smiling now (and maybe blushing a little too).

    Sometimes you just have to tell the world to suck it too.


  13. You must have really loved your mother. I don't think that I've ever hurt that much when losing someone.

    But I've seen so much death through my life that I'm just really accepting of it I guess.

    Cute humor, don't recall hearing it before.

  14. A word from the wise, if you keep memories around, and keep talking about someone, the pain and grief just goes on and on and on.

    It's hard to move on that way, get things back to normal.

  15. so sorry about above comment leavers. that was insensitive.

    I wish I had read this on the day you posted it. I would have mentally spooned you

  16. Anonymous1/13/2009

    OMG...totally did not expect that!! I gave a big old hearty belly laugh!!! Just came across your blog and I think I like it...


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