As many of you know, we’ve been going through some tough times with the passing of my mom. Many of us are emotional, of course. Many of us are also sleep deprived. I thought I’d like to share a little experience I had that helped with both of the above issues.
While in St. George, where my mom was to be buried, I needed to go to Wal-Mart to buy a couple of sippy-cups to replace the ones I left in California. I took my sister Erin with me. We shopped around some, and then parted when I needed to use the restroom. Note: I was one of those greatly suffering from sleep deprivation. I went into the stall and before taking care of business (you know, like writing memos on walls with a Sharpie), Chris called on my cell phone. We talked about what I should write on the wall and if I should include any profanity and decided upon lyrics to “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” because that’s what we’ve been listening to for the past month and thought, “hey, why should we be the only ones suffering?” (yes I know that’s a run on sentence.) I digress. I finally ended my creative session with Chris and went on with my memos, finished them, and got ready to walk out of the stall. It was at that moment, when I was about to slide the metal lock open, that I heard another bathroom cell phone user. Only this user had a very deep voice, and seemed to be writing his memos in an area near the wall. Yes, I was in the men’s room. Instead of announcing myself, or running out with my head bent and purse protecting my tender eyeballs, I waited until he was finished. I then waited quietly in my stall for 3 more men to write their memos or make important phone calls, until the coast was finally clear (about 10 minutes). At that point I ran as fast as I could out that door, hoping that I would not meet anyone on their way in to do their business. By the way, the men’s room in that particular store is low on paper products.
Once I made it out of the restroom, I found support on the arm of a rack of cloths and waited for Erin to meet up with me. I could not hold it above 30 seconds before I started laughing uncontrollably with tears streaming down my face. After days of the other kind of tears which we had all been shedding practically non-stop, these were a relief and so therapeutic! Once I explained my little experience to Erin, the laughter started all over again. I was suddenly awake and feeling better. Besides, thinking about it later, I know my mom would have laughed herself in need of a restroom if she had been there too.
A tidbit on the benefit of laughter: “Laughter reduces the level of stress hormones like cortisol, epinephrine (adrenaline), dopamine and growth hormone. It also increases the level of health-enhancing hormones like endorphins, and neurotransmitters. Laughter increases the number of antibody-producing cells and enhances the effectiveness of T cells. All this means a stronger immune system, as well as fewer physical effects of stress.”