Caregivers and Joy

May 30, 2016
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-Peter Rosenberger:  30-year caregiver, Author, Radio Host, and Wanna-be Stand-up comic!Our life as caregivers can be filled with grim and painful things, and those circumstances can transfer us into grim people. Thirty years as a caregiver has taught me the importance of humor and laughter, and I found it helpful to look for the genuinely funny moments—sometimes in  even the direst of circumstances.

Book_LaughWith tenacity, tenderness and humor Peter Rosenberger brings hope to those who find themselves in the overwhelming and sometimes lonely role of caregiver.-Amy Grant

 While framed and filled with surgeries, pain, disability, and challenges—our life is also filled with  laughter and humor.  For whatever reason, I seem to look at life through funny shaped lenses, even though I've certainly had my share of tears, heartache, and harsh experiences.  All that not withstanding, I still circle back to seeing funny and lighthearted moments.  One of those moments occurred for Gracie and me on national television.TodayShow_PGTaking a cue from my cracking jokes with Gracie on the set of the TODAY show once, Kathie Lee Gifford quipped with me, "I guess you're not a leg man!"Without a batting an eye, I deadpanned, "Sure I am!  She pops those suckers off every night and says, 'Knock yourself out big boy—I'm going to bed!'"Hoda and the production crew exploded in laughter and Kathie Lee looked so funny with her jaw hanging open—and then Gracie and she laughed the hardest.Holding Gracie's hand, she had tears in her eyes as she looked at Gracie, "You married him because he makes you laugh!

I once heard a story about a beloved church leader from a small, rural congregation who passed away following a long illness. As a tribute and gift to the widow, the music minister offered to enlist the choir to sing the man’s favorite song at the funeral. Inquiring from the bereaved woman, the music minister was surprised to hear that the dearly departed’ s favorite song was “Jingle Bells.”Double-checking with her, she emphatically stated that his favorite song was indeed “Jingle Bells” and expressed great gratitude that the choir offered to sing her deceased husband’s much-loved song at the service.So the music minister assembled the choir, and, with sales skills rivaling the best salesman on the planet, convinced the church choir to perform “Jingle Bells” at the funeral, which took place in June.After the eulogy, the choir stood up and belted out, “Dashing through the snow, in a one-horse open sleigh . . .”As the assembled crowd looked on with puzzlement, while dressed in summer attire, the embarrassed, but committed, choir sat down feeling as if they did the best they could for the grieving widow.At the graveside, the music minister passed by the man’s wife, took her hand, and once again gave his sincere condolences. Tearfully thanking him for the music, she quizzically looked at the music minister and remarked, “I loved all the hymns and songs, but why did you all sing ‘Jingle Bells’?Wide-eyed, the music minister replied, “You stated it was his favorite song!”With a sad, but sweet, grin she put her hand to her mouth and laughed. “Ohhhh, I am so sorry. I meant,  ‘Golden Bells’!”Sometimes humor meets tragedy in strange places. We caregivers see enough tragedy, but can we see the humor?It’s there—our  challenge is to expect and enjoy it.

The person who can bring the spirit of laughter into a room is indeed blessed.-Bennett Cerf

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