Humor was Dad’s chief tactic of survival, and it stayed with him to the end. His humor tended to be a bit, um, ripe. I learned from the master, and, while Dad is no longer with us in body, he hangs out in a corner of my mind and slips the occasional “ripe one” into my mouth–as I realized to my chagrin during my residency in chaplaincy. Now, I do mostly end-of-life chaplaincy, and Dad is often with me.
As must be the same with you, Caleb, I find it imperative to hold the people I meet in the sacred space that surrounds a death, in love and compassion, regardless of their circumstances or demeanor. Death strips away our armor, our costuming, our cherished roles. When (usually quite tame) “ripe one” slips out of my mouth, it generally provokes that sacred belly laugh that eases tension and brings us together in our humanity, and I am grateful for the healing endorphins released to counter the fight-flight-freeze. Thanks, Dad, you dirty old man.
(Dad used to tell me that when he woke up, he looked down to see if he was wearing a suit. If he wasn’t, he got out of bed.)