Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Death is a Part of Life

Contrary to popular belief, clowning is not always about being silly. There is often a serious side to being a clown. One time I was invited to clown at a party after a funeral. A young man had died suddenly in a car accident. He was a fun loving guy who left behind a wife, two young children, and many devastated friends and relatives. His mom thought it appropriate to invite me to her house and make an attempt at cheering up the guests. She felt her jokester of a son would have approved.

When I arrived, most of the guests were in the back yard. There were a few crying grownups in the house and when I walked through, they angrily demanded to know what I was doing there. Nervously I explained that I was invited to distract the children, excused myself, and continued to the back deck.

I sat very quietly on the steps and got out my skunk puppet, Jr. Mint. Slowly the children came closer and soon I was able to engage them in a little magic, face painting, and balloon animals. Little by little the adults relaxed and enjoyed the interactions between the children and myself. I could feel the tension in the air dissipate. Before long it was time for me to go.

As I passed through the house on my way out to my car, I encountered the same “welcoming committee” that had confronted me a short hour before. This time they hugged me and said thanks. I had lightened their spirits and helped them remember all the fun times they had with their loved one.

I sat in the car for a moment before driving away. It’s not easy driving with tears in your eyes.

Have you ever been in a situation where you did not feel welcome? Please leave me a comment. I’d love to hear from you.

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