Laugh Until I Cry

Since my Dad died, there has not been a day that has gone by when his memory hasn’t entered into my mind.  The daily memories vary.  At times it is just his face, every now and then I am fortunate to hear his voice saying my name, and sometimes I hear him laughing.

What triggers these memories is just as varied as what I remember.  They can be overt, like looking at the picture I keep of him in the sun visor in my car or fielding questions about him from my kids.  Other times, the triggers are subtle, like a simple bump in the road or watching a movie.

The other night I was watching Mel Brooks’ ‘History of the World Part 1’.  I had DVR’d it some time ago but had been unable to watch it until the other night (iCarly and TVLand had taken precedent as I was left cursing myself for teaching my family how to DVR shows).  I wanted to wait until everyone was in bed because it is not a movie a 9 and 6 year old should watch and my wife would spend the time rolling her eyes, asking me when it was over, and unable to understand why the movie could make me laugh until I cry.

So the other night I waited until I saw the light go out in our bedroom then settled in to my sofa and hit ‘Play’.

Not long after Sid Caesar’s caveman discovered music, my own laughter was overshadowed by my memories.  I heard, above the parody, dialogue, and my own laughing, my Dad’s laugh.  My father loved to laugh and got more pleasure out of making other people laugh (usually at him). If you were never lucky enough to be in his company to hear it (as most of you were not), his was a laugh indescribable.  It could fill even a noisy room, was impossible to not make you smile and more than likely, you would find yourself joining him in even if you weren’t quite sure what he was laughing about.  It was a laugh that could bring him to tears given the right circumstances.  Now here I was, alone on my sofa imagining him sitting next to me, laughing at the same jokes I was laughing about.

I miss my Dad’s laugh.

I was happy to be able to have that memory back, even if it only lasted for 92 minutes of the movie.

I watched the entire movie even though it kept me awake much later than I should have stayed awake.  It was worth every minute that passed and every joke that played on my television.  It was one of those subtle moments I so try so hard to find but only makes itself known when fate seems ready.

I kept watching that night, even as the credits rolled.

After almost 7 years of not having him next to me, I still treasure the moments that bring him back.  It doesn’t matter how or why either.  It could be an old jacket hanging in my closet that carries faint traces of his cologne on it, a Q&A about him with my girls, or a Mel Brooks’ comedy from 1981.  I welcome all the memories these moments give to me.  They keep his spirit alive, they remind me of the man he was, and every now and then, they make me laugh, until I cry.


14 responses to “Laugh Until I Cry

  1. Dawn Young Fobes

    Thanks for sharing. I lost my dad in November and we find ourselves watching Storage Wars because when we would come over he would be watching it. It saddens me that I can’t really remember what his favorite movie was but when it comes to Sundays now we can turn on the race and memories come back. My youngest said just keep it on Speed Channel and that is Papa 🙂 Memories are what gets us through tough times and again thank you for sharing yours with us.


    • Thanks Dawn.
      Don’t worry, when you least expect it, something will kick your memory in to gear and a flood of emotion and thoughts will come racing in.
      Its never easy to lose anyone we love but holding their memories closely certainly does help to ease the pain.


  2. LOVED this, Jimmy (and not just because I, too, am a big fan of History of the World, Part 1).

    I’m fortunate enough to still have my dad around, but now that I have kids, I’ve really begun to realize that it’s not forever, that someday I’ll have to say goodbye to my parents and that someday my kids will have to say goodbye to me. Becoming a parent has made me see my own in a new light, has uncovered amazing memories of them I don’t know that I would have otherwise given a second thought. And this reminds me that every day I have a chance to make the same impact on my kids.

    Which is why they will watch hilarious movies with me, too, as soon as they’re old enough. 🙂


    • I never thought about these things until he was gone. I can’t say it enough how amazing it is, all the simple subtle things that spark my memory of my Dad.
      Its the reason why I’m the first to jump on top of the coffee table to dance with my kids.


  3. Beautiful post. Sounds like you’re doing a very good job of keeping his memory alive.


  4. I miss my dad (and mom) very much, too. I think of my dad as a REAL MAN in the ways that REALLY count. He didn’t make much money, wasn’t important, didn’t do anything society might consider significant, but he loved my mother like no man ever loved a woman. He modeled it and then some! Thx for sharing…


    • My dad was the same. Unremarkable to society at large but the most remarkable man I have ever known and completely memorable to everyone who had the pleasure to know him.


  5. I’ll have to ask my kids what they will miss about me when i’m dead. It might be interesting to know ahead of time, or entertaining to hear – your earning potential.


  6. Your dad sounds like a great guy. I feel like I can really picture him from your descriptions. Any guy who loves to laugh and has that kind of impact on his family sounds like my kinda guy.


  7. This is so nice! Your dad sounds awesome! Good lord, I don’t know what i would do without my dad, but I sure know what I could watch that would make me think of only him..


    • He was fantastic. You learn to deal and cope. Some days it hurts worst than others but thankfully, the memories are all good, even the ones that bring tears to my eyes.
      Thanks Laurie.


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