Laughter, Pain and Death..!

As you read this, I will be on my way to Pune for the funeral of my friend. A friend for over thirty-five years of my life. Even as I write this, I hear his baritone voice cracking a joke, and chuckling even before I did, “You laugh at your own jokes!” I’d complain, “Well, someone’s got to laugh!” he’d say, and I’d smile.
But it was that laughter that hid the pain inside as he finally died of a broken heart.
“Why didn’t you tell me she left?” I asked.
“I wanted to,” he said, “But I felt you wouldn’t want to listen!”
This was said to me a day before the open-heart surgery, from which he never recovered.
I thought about those last words as I heard of his death. We had met last at my daughter’s wedding a few months back. He had driven all the way, as he always did, from Pune, four hours away. I know I’d greeted him, but even as we spoke, and he told me he was leaving right after the service as he didn’t want to drive back late in the night, my eyes were already far away, “You were so busy!” he said later on the phone.
“I’m sorry,” I’m going to say silently as I see him lying suited in his casket, “for not listening and for giving you the impression I was too busy for you!”
Sometimes a quick joke hides a heavy heart. His was a death because of a botched bypass but there have been several notable comedian suicides that have shocked us. In 2014, Robin Williams hung himself, some others are Freddie Prinze, Tony Hancock, Richard Jeni and Max Linder, all who hid behind their laughter while crying inside.
Are there friends of yours laughing just now, cracking a joke, and you wonder how they go through life with so much laughter? Maybe you need to look beyond those chuckles, because many a laugh is a shield for despair they try to hide. Listen to them, not just to their jokes, but to telltale signs which somehow come through even in the middle of riotous laughter. Many strong men and women, do not break down and cry. Many hide behind walls that fool us all, but those walls are like those of a film set, just props flimsy, fancy and fragile.
You know of a friend going through a divorce, fighting a serious illness, lost his or her job, or just lonely? Call him or her now, and listen even if you are busy.
I didn’t, you can, and can save a life..!

6 thoughts on “Laughter, Pain and Death..!”

  1. May the soul Rest in Peace. We often do not like to enquire about friends personal lives. We feel we are probing into their lives when actually they are looking for a chance to talk to us. Bobby please accept my sincere condolences on the loss of a good friend.

  2. Bob! Sad to hear about your friend’ death, may His soul rest in peace! A great lesson you already shared.. Thank you for sharing.

  3. These days people have become expression less and we fail to figure out who would be interested in listening to our long tales of woe.
    Share your pain and the listener would have the chance to give vent to his own heaviness of the heart too

  4. Bob sorry to hear that your long time friend is no more. May his breath be one with the Eternal Breath of the Creator. And may the void left behind by his departure in the lives of all his nearest and dearest ones be filled with the Lord’s presence and His abiding love

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