As I had mentioned before, my mom is kind of the serious one of the family. The more mature one, so to speak.
However, the night of the fire, her ability to find the humor in the midst of the tragedy was surprising and refreshing.
I remember her commenting to several of the fire service men, especially the one who walked us through the house for the first time, that she had just cleaned the bathroom and scrubbed the kitchen floors. And she had. You would have NEVER been able to tell that, though, never in a million years.
We also came out in our pajamas (Public service announcement: ALWAYS wear pajamas!) so when a neighbor offered black sweatpants and white tube socks to my mother who was in a nightgown, we all got a good laugh at how she may have been channeling Michael Jackson in her outfit that night.
The day we came back to clean out a few things that might be salvageable, I had gotten my parents and myself some clothes at Goodwill that we could throw away afterward so we didn’t contaminate anything with mold. Well, my dad’s appearance was quite different than normal that day. His jacket looked a little scruffy, he emerged from the house with soot all over, and had his hair flying every which way. A friend of his took one look at him and told him he looked homeless. Well, without skipping a beat, he acted like he took offense to that comment and quipped back with, “Actually, I am! Thanks for bringing it up!”
I don’t think you can go through something like this and not turn to humor at some point. I appreciate how well my family does this. We will be doing something hard, like inventory, and chide about how this was one way to de-clutter, or talk about rebuilding and throw in some jokes about how my parents were wanting to remodel anyway.
Humor is definitely one coping strategy that works for our family, and I hope that people will be able to continue laughing right along with us as we begin to put the pieces together.