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Silliness should be prized. I’ve had the good fortune of being raised with it as it’s always been one of my family’s most prized pursuits. None of us are class clowns or cut-ups (I had to marry to add that to the mix) but we love to laugh. We laugh readily & easily as well as good & long, especially when a shared bit of silly is the cause. Of course, it’s not so much the silliness as sharing it that we find infectious. Inside jokes are a constant. Our favorites are ones that don’t require insider information to be laughable so that anyone can join in. It also helps that those don’t require long memories since my maternal Grandma was the only one with a good memory.

“The more you laugh, The more you fill with glee
And the more the glee, The more we’re a merrier we!”

~ I Love To Laugh, “Mary Poppins” ~

What memories she had! One she shared time & again in her later years has become especially dear. When she & her siblings were quite small, one of her brothers would say, “YOU sooo siil-ly!” Grandma not only remembered it but quoted it exactly as that little boy during the Great Depression had said it. Such an appropriate remembrance too for she never would talk much about her childhood struggles; just pointing out that everyone does in one way or another. It was the little things she shared, like those long-ago words of her brother or a cherished doll (so rare amidst such poverty & no doubt the reason she collected dolls throughout her life).

“I have made it a rule of my life never to regret and never to look back. Regret is an appalling waste of energy… you can’t build on it; it’s only good for wallowing in.”
~ Katherine Mansfield ~

Optimism is a choice. While it does come more naturally for some than others, when paired with our often opposing natural inclinations, it’s a powerful tool. My mum tends to be pessimistic by nature but so childlike in her faith & hope that optimism is the knife she uses to cut her pessimism down to size. It wasn’t until Grandma’s recent death that I fully realized she was a optimistic realist just like me although I’d long understood that our souls saw the world in the same way. She considered us soulmates, teaching me early on that true connections are made through the soul & are never limited to romantic relationships.

Grandma's little girl

Our souls are also how we connect to the world. The eyes are considered windows to that one part of us that is wholly unlike anyone else not solely because they allow a glimpse in but more importantly because it’s how we should be looking out. Memories, while precious, aren’t what make us who we are as is typically believed. My own broken brain & fictional explorations like Joss Whedon’s “Dollhouse” call such common wisdom (as if wisdom is ever common) into question. It’s our souls that define us & our experiences that shape us, regardless of how or if they’re remembered.

“There can be no knowledge without emotion. We may be aware of a truth, yet until we have felt its force, it is not ours. To the cognition of the brain must be added the experience of the soul.”
~ Arnold Bennett ~

Remembrance is simply a journey, along a path the lucky ones hope is true. Our strongest memories are born of our strongest emotions so the mosaic of our life has amazing & horrible moments equally highlighted. It really was the best of times & the worst of times but we choose which we want to build from. Of the numerous things my Grandma imparted to me, by far the most precious was her ability to focus on the good in myself & others. My mum & her parents each provided unconditional love; Granddad accepts people as they are which he passed on to his daughter who wanted me so badly she couldn’t help but love me while Grandma, as she did with everyone, saw all my flaws but never let them keep her from seeing all my potential.

“There is one thing one has to have: either a soul that is cheerful by nature, or a soul made cheerful by work, love, art, and knowledge.”
~ Friedrich Nietzsche ~

Disappointment’s a given, hurt an inevitable risk & betrayal a likely eventuality. It’s not just human frailty that keeps things a far cry from perfect, our own circumstances work against us. To live is to live in interesting times. There are no easy fixes or guarantees; luck runs out, loved ones die, we let ourselves & others down, they reciprocate, no amount of hard work or positive thought leads to a particular outcome, goals can only keep you on track & acting on your dreams may not make a damn bit of difference. Letting any of that stop you is the only form of failure that really exists though.

“There are three things in life which are real: God, human folly, and laughter. The first two are beyond our comprehension so we must do what we can with the third.”
~ Indian Proverb ~

Laughter, recovery, love, perseverance; these are just as much a part of the human condition yet must be chosen. Grandma lived with everything listed previously but refused to get stuck in those aspects of life. In my own life, when I came close to not graduating high school, my mum wisely let her mum take over for a time & the truth Grandma consequently explained was the beginning of the beginning for me. She let me know in no uncertain terms that everything I did affected those who loved me & I had no choice in the matter because they would never stop loving me. It’s not that I thought unconditional love was a free pass but I hadn’t sorted the truth. It’s a responsibility.

“Just as despair can come to one only from other human beings, hope too, can be given to one only by other human beings.”
~ Elie Wiesel ~

If we affect others without even trying, imagine the impact we can have on ourselves. The brilliance of my Grandma-given epiphany was that she specifically did not say I was hurting those I love, forcing me to face that the ripples were out of my control. When we’re struggling — be it financially, physically or psychologically — we tend to think we can limit the collateral damage by withdrawing. The reality is that we can’t make progress from that inward stance & those who are invested in us are already along for the ride. Whatever our progress or lack thereof, if we remember we’re not traveling alone, won’t we want to make the most of the trip?

To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children, to leave the world a better place… to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.

Take life on, take others for who they really are & take in the good while accepting the bad so that you too can live as my Grandma did. Never one to hold back her opinions or not pursue her own interests, she learned to balance those needs with kindness & patience. She may have never gotten to live at the beach but she loved her community & there were things she didn’t accomplish but she whole-heartedly enjoyed the things she did. Always the better reflection of me, she’s put me back on track one final time & will always light my way. I’m used to having two mothers to call on this important holiday; instead, my mum & I will honor the one we shared by living our lives anew & making it a fun journey for all involved.

“What soap is to the body, laughter is to the soul.”
~ Yiddish Proverb ~

We’ll start with a little silliness..

(|_|*cheers*|_|)
“You have to do your own growing no matter how tall your grandfather
[or grandmother] was.”

~ Abraham Lincoln [Grandma's hero, beside Granddad] ~

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{ 2 trackbacks }

Coping with Someday in Constant Pain: Dorian (aka coffeesister) Interview | Someday Syndrome
17 May 2009 at 11:10 pm
Beauty, Bread and the Beloved (|_| Drink Deeply |_|)
15 April 2012 at 11:13 pm

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Rene 10 May 2009 at 5:33 pm

Thank you D, for giving me a lot to think about as Jim and I sit here stewing from a shouting match we just had. You have great timing.

.-= Drink in this recent post by Rene:
We’ve Escaped =-.

Reply

2 Jenny 11 May 2009 at 9:15 am

Great thoughts! We are a laughing family as well. Very good for the soul!

.-= Drink in this recent post by Jenny:
Giggleboxes Were Meant To Be Upended =-.

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3 Nadia - Happy Lotus 12 May 2009 at 11:27 am

I am a big believer in being silly and laughing. Actually, I laugh so loud at times, my neighbor complained to the leasing office of my laughing. So at night, when we watch something funny, I have to laugh with my hand over my mouth!

So yay for laughing! :)

.-= Drink in this recent post by Nadia – Happy Lotus:
The Thing About Passion =-.

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4 Chris 15 May 2009 at 10:05 am

Yes, ma’am! After years of sullen seriousness, I had an epiphany, thankfully given to me by a buddy of mine. He’s the kind who the more he likes you the more he makes fun of you. He reminded me to have fun a little fun, be silly and laugh. It does cleanse the soul.

Life is rough sometimes, but if we can find those moments to treasure, to laugh, things begin to look better, the future looks brighter, the day becomes fun. And, it is infectious.

Believe it or not, I started my blog with that very thing in mind; for, we have been going through an extended period of difficulty in our lives. I wanted some thing that would help me remember to spot those little moments that are a joy; if it truly was worth it, I’d post it. It has helped a bunch.

Thank you for writing this as another reminder to loosen up.

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5 Leann 1 June 2009 at 8:58 pm

What a beautiful tribute to your Grandmother. I am sorry for your loss.

She lives on in you.

Blessings
Leann

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6 Lorna 3 June 2009 at 4:54 pm

Oh, you’re back, and I didn’t know it. You’ve been in my heart since I read that she’d passed away. This post is a classic.

.-= Drink in this recent post by Lorna:
I Get my come-uppance =-.

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7 mum 11 June 2009 at 11:45 pm

Yes, what memories she had, & what memories we have because of her. She was definitely a realist & an optimist, just like you, & she gave me a quizzical look quite often, dreamer that I was. And of course I still am, but the two of you kept me grounded as we traveled through our years together. What a beautiful and fitting tribute you have written here. I love it! And she would love it! And we’d all giggle! :p Seems we always did whenever we were together & I can’t even tell you how much I cherish those memories. Yes, we will carry her with us as we go about our days, because so much of what we do we either learned from her, did with her, or reminds us of her. And she truly did inspire us to be silly & enjoy life!

I LOVE the Arnold Bennett quote! And the Friedrich Nietzsche quote is definitely about me! :)

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8 Alison | Quest for Balance 14 June 2009 at 5:30 pm

Your grandma is lucky to have been (and still be!) so loved. : )

.-= Drink in this recent post by Alison | Quest for Balance:
Inspiration from Kahlil Gibran: “On Joy & Sorrow” =-.

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9 Karen Chaffee 16 June 2009 at 4:20 pm

You have crammed so much wisdom into this one post. Your grandmother sounds like an incredible woman. Her influence will be with you for a lifetime.

xoxo

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10 Sarah 17 June 2009 at 9:24 am

What a beautiful post. Thank you so much for sharing this. My grandmother also had a huge influence on my life; my daughter is now named after her. I’m so sorry that you recently lost your grandmother. You are truly keeping her memory alive with your life and this post. Blessings to you!

Reply

11 Jeanne 15 September 2009 at 8:49 pm

Dorian,

Silliness should be prized. Yes, indeed. Sometimes in our society, I think we get so caught up in serious matters that we temporarily forget how to lighten up, have fun, and be silly.

Humor is a fantastic coping mechanism! I don’t know what we’d do without humor in this house! My husband gets the kudos for “lightening me up”… as I was the more serious of the two of us when we met. He has a corny sense of humor and a lightning-sharp delivery of zingers. He can put me into hysterics pretty handily.

The memories you have of your grandmother, who you clearly treasured, will be precious to you as the years go by. How wonderful that you had that time to interact with her and hear her stories. I would imagine you miss her very much but I’m happy that you have such loving memories of her to carry in your heart.

Realistic optimism is a good thing in my book.

Great Bennett quote…

This passage here is awesome:

Of the numerous things my Grandma imparted to me, by far the most precious was her ability to focus on the good in myself & others. My mum & her parents each provided unconditional love; Granddad accepts people as they are which he passed on to his daughter who wanted me so badly she couldn’t help but love me while Grandma, as she did with everyone, saw all my flaws but never let them keep her from seeing all my potential.

More great quotes & insights. (You really are a deep thinker… that’s a compliment)…

Another AMAZING passage:

Laughter, recovery, love, perseverance; these are just as much a part of the human condition yet must be chosen. Grandma lived with everything listed previously but refused to get stuck in those aspects of life. In my own life, when I came close to not graduating high school, my mum wisely let her mum take over for a time & the truth Grandma consequently explained was the beginning of the beginning for me. She let me know in no uncertain terms that everything I did affected those who loved me & I had no choice in the matter because they would never stop loving me. It’s not that I thought unconditional love was a free pass but I hadn’t sorted the truth. It’s a responsibility.

Great Weisel quote…

The last two big paragraphs are just powerful and beautiful!

Finally, I love the Lincoln quote. What a lovely tribute this post is to your grandmother… who clearly was an amazing woman (not unlike her lovely granddaughter)!!

Jeanne
.-= Drink in this blog post from Jeanne:
Invisible Illness Awareness Week =-.

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12 Jasmine 15 September 2009 at 11:15 pm

Oh, I am all about silliness! Beautiful tribute, and I’m sorry for your loss.
.-= Drink in this blog post from Jasmine:
Invisible Illness Awareness Week Starts Today! =-.

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13 J 23 September 2009 at 9:23 pm

I love the first line of the post. It is so incredibly true!!! :) E and I are incredibly silly together at times, it’s one of the things I prize most of our relationship (and there are A LOT of things I prize in it!) because it is so incredible. It shows the friendship we had before we were together, as well as the fact we know each other well enough to joke around together, and are completely comfortable with each other!!

I’m so sorry about the loss of your grandmother, and love the tribute to her.

We seem to have similar tastes in shows.. or at least one director in common, LOL!!! Dollhouse is so wonderful, I’m glad it comes back on this week! And yes, I agree with you on the memories thing, so strongly I can’t even say how much I agree!!!
.-= Drink in this blog post from J:
Nesting? =-.

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14 coffeesister 12 November 2009 at 6:10 pm

Today (12 Nov) would have been G’ma’s 86th birthday.. I’m trying to set aside my sadness in order to be just a little extra silly in her honor as she well understood the power of a smile. Those smiles will see us thru our current transition while we seek an apartment in San Francisco & make what just may be our final major life change. I know she’d be proud of us for not only following our hearts but moving back near family & she’d especially love that we were willing to have her great granddaughter live w/us since she personified the idea of family first in an amazing, welcoming way. I love you G’ma & continue to be inspired by you every day! <3 xox

(|_|*to Peg*|_|)
“We should all have one person who knows how to bless us despite the evidence, Grandmother was that person to me.” — Phyllis Theroux

PS: Be sure to “drink in” Dave’s guest post about my G’ma Peg (via CommentLuv or the previous post link)..

PPS: Thanx ever so for the marvelous comments as they too are a wonderfully appropriate tribute to her & I will yet be replying as I’m able. Y’all rock!!

.-= Drink in this related blog post from coffeesister:
Blessed =-.

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