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The Power of Laughter

Today, just before dawn, my wife's paternal grandmother lost her battle with emphysema and passed. My wife had been at her bedside at the hospital for most of this week along with her father and sisters. My grandmother by marriage was a spitfire woman who was a beautiful relic of the Harlem of old --- good times and wild nights at the Savoy and The Cotton Club. Last year while visiting her home I was agog over her photos from yesteryear. I asked her, "Did James Van Der Zee take these?" She gave me a brusque laugh and said, "I looked good didn't I?"

You still do grandma. You still do.

All of my grandparents were gone from this life before I reached adulthood, so it's a blessing that my wife had all but one as an adult. But that means nothing in the face of losing your grandmother, your father's mother, especially when you just saw her. Even when you know it's going to happen, as we did.

So of course my wife cried and I told her to let it out. I took her cellphone from her so she could stop texting family and just held her until the tears subsided. And then I did what I always do. I made her laugh.

Yesterday evening I had to leave the hospital to pick up the kids and get them situated for the night. This morning I was able to catch my wife up on last night's episodes of The Office and 30 Rock and the premiere of Parks & Recreation. She laughed. I then had her go through her left-eyebrow-cocking exercises. I have been a master of this art since the sixth grade. This exercise consisted of me holding down her right eyebrow while she raised both of them and saying sternly, "Push it out! C'mon, almost...almost..." We did 10 reps of this but never made it to the third set.

I didn't set out to make her laugh. It's just what I dowhen she's not driving me to daydream about throwing her from a rooftop. It eased the pain momentarily and allowed her enough distraction to go back to sleep. I dropped my son off at his basketball camp and I'll probably take my BossLady of the house to the park to run off her steam and give the wife the room she needs to help out her father. Or I'll do whatever she needs as husbands (and wives) are supposed to do in times like these.

If you have a chance today, put a smile on the face of your wife/husband/kids/cousins/friends/lover/dog (no cats)/whomever. They'll appreciate it.

I'm signing off until next week, folks. Happy GOOD Friday, Happy Fatherhood Friday, Happy Friday.

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