On Huffington Post I blogged today about the loss of one of the funniest men ever. His passing stands in stark contradiction to the joy he brought. And yet humor is a great healer. Williams noted that in an interview. In the midst of adversity, humor is a comforting companion. I remember that after being diagnosed with breast cancer in my early thirties my humor teacher ratings were off the charts. I always inject humor, often spontaneously, into teaching and speaking, but apparently even more when times are particularly hard. Does that make the humor disingenuous? No. It shows, as if we hadn’t noticed, why we have humor in the first place. It lightens the darker days, lifts when least expected and sparkles our interactions.
I remember my father and mother having a disagreement. My father called from the living room to the kitchen, in all seriousness, that he knew she was drawing his face in her hand and slapping it. I fell off the sofa laughing. The image was ridiculous. They forgot their differences. My mother came into the living room, looked at my father and proceeded to trace his face into her palm before giving it a good punch. You had to be there. It was hysterical. And we never forgot it. My mother would use her right index finger many times after that pretending to trace his face in her left hand. It always brought a smile.
Humor is the best companion to sadness and a great dissipator of anger. It lightens and lifts. Robin Williams was exceptionally blessed to have such a companion and we were equally blessed that he shared it with us. Despite years of battling depression, he made us smile. Perhaps he was so gifted because he carried an awareness of the darkness. He fought it valiantly and to the benefit of generations to come.