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Topic: Laughter (10/18/04)
TITLE: Learning from Grandma
By John Lindsay
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"What's wrong, mamma?" I asked, feeling a pain in my stomach even before she answered.
"Grandpa's dead, Jimmy. He's gone to be with Jesus."
Grandpa dead? Nothing can prepare a 10-year-old for such news. I knew he was sick but I
hadn't expected him to die.
As I tried to comprehend the news the pain tightened its grip and I wanted to run away, to be
on my own. My bed became my haven as I hid under the blankets and cried myself to sleep.
The next day we went to see grandma. We always had fun when we visited grandma and
grandpa but this time it was different. Everyone was sad and mamma, grandma, my aunts and
uncles were talking quietly.
My cousins and I didn't know what to do until mamma put an old photo album on the table.
I'd never seen it before but when I saw pictures of grandpa at school I thought he looked like
me, except for the clothes.
David is my oldest cousin. He was nearly twenty, studying at university and when he saw a
picture of grandpa as a student he thought grandpa's jacket looked so funny he started to
laugh. We all started to laugh with him, but suddenly stopped, embarrassed that we were
laughing when everyone was so sad. Mamma started to growl but Grandma said something
and came over to see what had made us laugh.
"I guess you think it looks silly, but your grandpa thought he was very smart in that jacket."
she said when she saw the photo. "And so did I," she added with a smile and a little laugh.
Grandma didn't scold us for laughing. Instead, she told us how hard grandpa had worked to
get a good education. He was the first person in his family to study at university and everyone
was so proud when he graduated. A year later, grandpa and grandma were married.
I was a university student myself when grandma died and as we gathered for her funeral the
sound of someone laughing reminded me of her words. On one of the saddest days in her life
she taught me that even the darkest times have their lighter moments. Those moments when
laughter eases the weight of grief and sadness.