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When I wasn’t allowed to laugh

When I was ten years old and living with my grandparents, my grandfather started to die of cancer. My real father was not interested enough to be around, and my mother was an alcoholic and a drug abuser. So, I had a short and happy childhood for a while until grandfather started to die.

One day while watching cartoons on Saturday my grandmother screamed at me for laughing at something I saw on the television. It was such a shock to be yelled at that in that manner. She told me I shouldn’t be laughing when someone I loved was dying.

So, from that day and for many years following that day I did not laugh aloud. I wheeled grandfather into the veteran’s hospital to get chemo. It didn’t help. He lost weight and all his hair. They removed his penis because that was where the cancer had been. He begged people to get him his gun, so he could end it all. We didn’t. I wish I had.

He suffered more than anyone I have ever known. At his funeral I bawled like a little baby. I was ten years old, one month away from eleven. For years I didn’t laugh loud. Chris Farley on the television on Saturday nights made my stomach hurt for days because I held my laughter inside. I am unsure of when I started to laugh aloud again. These days I am much older, and I laugh all the time. I have a very vivid imagination so sometimes I laugh at something and no one around me has any idea what I am laughing at. Life is strange and sometimes it is sad. My advice, when you can laugh about something, do so.

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