Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Heavenly Melody

Her name means laughter. One of the things we miss most is hearing hers.  Whenever she said something funny, her eyes would twinkle. Then, as she watched and waited for you to "get it", she'd twist her head sort of side ways. The corners of her mouth would gradually move upward until finally her whole face erupted into a smile and bust out a giggle.

Sometimes I can almost hear it.    

One morning, just before I fully awoke, I heard her voice as clear as any sound I'm hearing now.  It was like heavenly music, the most beautiful melody. It literally filled me.  I gleaned energy from the memory of that sound all day and when my head hit the pillow that night, I hoped I would hear more.  For about two weeks after she died, I could feel it, as if it were coming from somewhere deep inside me.  Her smiles, her giggles, her laughter reverberated from within.  I can't describe it, but I knew - I felt - I experienced - her complete and total joy. As it is with nearly all of our deepest, most profound experiences, this was and is inexpressible.

Risa was nurtured in a home filled with laughter.  Some might argue there was too much of it.  If Whitakers are accused of riding the edge, whatever that edge might be: of propriety, of dignity, of intelligence, etc., the catalyst is gonna be humor.        
A Laughing Matter

It's no wonder we find comfort in the following:

"I divide the causes of human laughter into Joy, Fun, the Joke Proper, and Flippancy.  You will see the first among friends and lovers reunited on the eve of a holiday.... the smallest witticisms produce laughter at such a time shows that they are not the real cause.  Something like it is expressed in music and something like it occurs in Heaven.  Fun is closely related to Joy - a sort of emotional froth arising from the play instinct.  It promotes charity, courage, contentment."   C.S. Lewis

"Laughter occurs when people are comfortable with one another, when they feel open and free.  And the more laughter [there is], the more bonding [occurs] within the group. This feedback "loop" of bonding- laughter-more bonding may be another reason why laughter is often contagious."     
~ Mahadev Apte

The Benefits of Laughter        
Laughter on the Brain

"Mirth is God's medicine.  Everybody ought to bathe in it."  
~Henry Ward Beecher

"At the height of laughter, the universe is flung into a kaleidoscope of new possibilities."
~Jean Houston

"The most wasted of all days is one without laughter."    
~e.e. cummings

"Laughter is the shortest distance between two people."     ~Victor Borge

"What soap is to the body, laughter is to the soul."      ~Yiddish Prover

"A man isn't poor if he can still laugh."     
~Raymond Hitchcock

"Remember, men need laughter sometimes more than food."  ~Anna Fellows Johnston

"Laughter is the sensation of feeling good all over and showing it principally in one place."  ~Josh Billings

"A laugh is a smile that bursts."  ~Mary H. Waldrip

"Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face."     ~Victor Hugo

 "Laughter on one's lips is a sign that the person down deep has a pretty good grasp of life."  ~Hugh Sidey

"It's my cancer and I can laugh if I want to."   
~ Risa Melody Whitaker 

How do we say "I love you" more than words can express?  How do we describe the kaleidoscope of joy we feel while in your presence?    How do we explain the value of your friendship?     . . .    We laugh with you.  

Is there a name for one who sprinkles mirth like pixie dust as she flits along beside you?

We called her Risa.



  1. so cute. Thanks for the reminder to laugh a little more, especially when the little ones are testing my patience ;)

  2. Yep. It's the glue that holds our family together. Risa is still glued to us!

  3. I love to laugh, it always makes me feel good no matter what! Thanks for sharing those quotes!