I guess you could say my family has a history of mental issues, some stark, some hilarious.
If you’ve read my book, you know my dad has had a tough time dealing with the mental trauma stemming from his physical disabilities. Conversely you also know that my grandmother is a demonic hillbilly queen, unearthed in some West Virginia coal mine similar to how the ThunderCats found Mumm-Ra.
My brother is a recovering alcoholic with ADHD. I’ve battled depression. Four of my immediate family members are on anxiety meds, bi-polar meds, or both. Feel good, feel calm, feel “even”, feel nothing at all: we’ve got a pill for that. Hell, there are enough psychotropic drugs getting prescribed to people with my last name that Amsterdam comes to our house to party.
The newest addition to the team is my other grandmother. She’s starting have severe memory issues. She see things. She has fights with people who aren’t around. Wanders off. repeats herself on a loop. It’s sad, I know. But to a family that’s already waded through so much crap, it’s also kinda funny.
I believe one of the great gifts God gives us is the ability to find humor in suffering; to look into a mess and extract a giggle or two, even when things are bleak. After all, life is terminal, which makes those of us who live like it isn’t rather like a crowd who takes themselves far to seriously to laugh. Might as well get your chuckles in before all the jokes are told.
A few nights ago, my grandmother woke in a panic. She grabbed my grandfather’s arm and told him my aunt and uncle were standing in the hallway, watching her.
There was no one there.
“What are they doing here?” Asked my grandmother. “Why didn’t they call and tell us they were coming?”
“I don’t know.” Said my grandfather, eyes unopened. “But they’ve been here enough times that if they need something, they know where to find it. Now go back to sleep.”