Illustration: Rebekah Nichols, Photo: Johnny Miller
After his funeral, I drove to the Himalayan Institute in Pennsylvania for a three-day Ayurvedic retreat meant to bring things back into balance. Thanks to 72 hours of vegetarian meals, yoga classes, and sessions with a holistic doctor, I returned home hopeful. But less than two weeks later, a chaplain from my local hospital called to inform me that my husband had been the victim of a hit-and-run. "Are you f—ing kidding me?" I shrieked.
At the hospital, when I saw his face, so bruised it was almost unrecognizable, I realized there was no right way to absorb this kind of pain. My life had become a cruel joke.
And yet. When Jason came home, he immediately began cracking wise. And that set the tone for how we regarded his situation: with levity and something like grace.
Him: "My arm hurts. Take your top off—it's the only thing that will help."
Me: "You got hit in a crosswalk at 7 A.M.? Dude, I think God smited you."
When a stranger asked how he broke his arm, he said: "Arm wrestling with my mother-in-law. I won."
We laughed every day, and despite all that we had endured, I was happy. I won't go so far as to say that his being run over was a gift. I will say that the accident reminded me how remarkable humor can be. My husband's laughter is like medicine. When times get tough, he finds the funny—and I just lean in for the joke.