Laughter is the Best Medicine

by Vickie S. Watson, Community Relations Specialist

I have had some recent heartache in my life – let’s face it, when you are raising a teenager, there WILL BE heartache.  Anyway, as I have continued to struggle to wrap my mind around things, I have a whole host of friends who have rushed to my rescue with words of encouragement, scripture references to face the day, lots and lots of prayers, and an occasional opportunity to “get out of the house” and away from the looming circumstances.  Last night happened to be one of those “get out of the house” opportunities.

My dear friends, my teenage daughter, and I made plans to have dinner together – it was sort of a last hurrah on many levels.  Dinner included great food, interesting conversation, many antics, and a whole lot of laughter.  As dinner was winding down, one of my friends said, “Hey, let’s go get ice cream!”  And it only took about 2.3 seconds for all of us to agree it was an exceptional idea.  So, off we went – but we did not just have ice cream at one establishment, we had ice cream at two different places.  At one, we had a single-scoop of homemade ice cream/sorbet, and at the other, we had good old-fashioned milk shakes!  It was extravagant, I know, but well worth every calorie.

What struck me the most, as the evening drew to a close, was the amount of laughter that had been shared during the time with my friends and daughter.  We literally bubbled over with laughter at various points, whether it was from a comment someone made, or the silly photos and videos we took with apps on our phones.  There were times we were laughing so hard we were literally crying.  And THAT was truly the best medicine for my troubled heart.  I told my friends, as we said our goodbyes, I really needed THAT – I really needed a few hours to step away from all that was churning in my mind and just laugh and enjoy the company of others.  It was uplifting and for a little span of time, all of the weight that was on my shoulders was indiscernible.  Khalil Gibran, a renowned author, poet and artist, once said, “In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.”  For me, the opportunity to laugh and just “hang out” was the medicine needed to soothe my soul and to feel refreshed.

As I sat at home last night reflecting on the events of the evening, my thoughts turned to the caregivers of the patients we serve.  I thought about the heaviness they must feel.  At times, it probably even feels like the weight of the entire world (at the very least, their entire world) is upon their shoulders.  And I thought, perhaps, for just a moment, they might benefit from a rest – to have that burden shifted off of them for a span of time.  At Hospice of Marshall County-Shepherd’s Cove we can offer an opportunity for rest for the caregiver.  It is called respite care.

Respite care is provided at Shepherd’s Cove, our inpatient facility, for the patient to stay up to 5 days at a time.  This level of care simply provides an opportunity for rest (for the caregiver) – whether it is because the caregiver is exhausted, or needs to attend a family event such as a wedding, graduation, etc.  In any case, Shepherd’s Cove can assist in providing a safe, comfortable environment for the patient, allowing the caregiver to know their loved one rests in good hands.

If you are a caregiver, and you are exhausted – with the weight of the world on your shoulders – give us a call at 256-891-7724.  We are here to serve you.