Gallows humor

Today I made some kind of funny remark about autopsies, and started chuckling.

My husband (who is the doctor, and normally the one who displays zero emotions at all connected to illness or death) snapped at me that it was a serious subject, told me he found it scary and disturbing that I was laughing, and asked if I had gone insane.

I haven’t gone insane. For the last six months there has been zilch in my life but stress and grief, and waiting as the long shadow creeps up the wall toward my father. This is my life these days; my life is death. Whatever comes out of my mouth these days is going to be about death or dying; the sad, the absurd, and now and then the slightly comical too.

And that’s what gallows humor is. In the face of the impossible, cracking a joke sometimes helps.


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