Friday, June 27, 2008

Pink Floyd Laughter

At the end of many Pink Floyd songs, over the coda, you often hear people saying things, you often hear people laughing. It’s never really clear what the people are saying. It’s never really clear why the people are laughing. But it’s never happy laughter.


Late yesterday afternoon I rode in the ambulance that transferred my Mom from the hospital to a ‘sub-acute care’ facility. The doctors at the hospital had decided there was nothing more they could do for her at the hospital. Her illness is too advanced, her lungs too weak, to respond to treatment.

Now it is a question of us keeping my Mom as comfortable as we can, to make her final days as pleasant as possible for her.


Late yesterday evening I spoke with my brother on the phone. We talked about what the doctors had told me about our Mom’s condition. We talked about how we could best keep our Mom comfortable and we wondered if she will be happy at the nursing home. We wondered if she would be happier at home and if the trip from the nursing home to our house would be too much for her. And we wondered if it even would be possible with me caring for her with the assistance of a part-time visiting nurse to make her comfortable at home.

Eventually my brother tried to say something encouraging, something up-beat, something hopeful.

I found myself laughing.

My brother stopped talking and I said, “No, no, no, Greg, I’m not laughing at you. I’m not really laughing. Well, I am, but it’s— It’s like the laughter you hear at the end of Pink Floyd songs, you know? It’s not happy laughter.”

And then my bother laughed and said, “Yeah, I think I know what you mean. That’s a good way of putting it.”

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