I Danced My Pants Off

By: Lauren Thaler  |  Date: August 23rd, 2011  |  Category: Death Defying Acts  |  Comments: 6 comments »

I threw a dance party on the night of my mom’s funeral.

Let me rephrase that: I didn’t plan to throw one, but on the night of my mom’s funeral, a dance party spontaneously erupted in my living room. Friends and family had come over earlier to pay their respects, and after the longest day of my entire life drew to a close, I pushed the furniture to the edge of the room, turned on portable Bose speakers and danced my pants off on my mother’s Oriental rug.

My remaining guests joined me. We danced to Akon, Jay-Z, Boyz II Men, Michael Jackson, Chromeo and we wrapped up the night with a compilation of 80’s hits.

When I woke up the following morning, surprised by the soreness I felt in my arms, my friend replied, “That’s probably because you were doing the worm last night during Karma Chameleon”.

Now, I understand my behavior isn’t for everyone. People grieve in different ways, and throwing a dance party on the night of a funeral typically doesn’t fall anywhere on the list. In fact, some may even think it’s disrespectful. Probably shocking. Maybe even a little (or a lot) shameful.

And the truth is that there were a couple people who were not comfortable with it. These wonderfully compassionate friends did not publically cast judgment; they silently excused themselves around the time of the first fist pump and went home. I think their nonjudgmental display of support despite their own biases was just as meaningful as those who chose to let loose and get their groove on with me.

And that’s exactly what the dance party was about: letting loose. Raising my heart rate. A release from the suspended inertia that had hovered over me for the weeks leading up to my mom’s death. She was no longer in pain, and I had survived my own mother’s death and funeral.

And the third observation, one that filled my heart with such warmth that it brings me close to tears as I think about it now, was the importance of the people surrounding me that night. During a time that should otherwise make me feel empty and alone, I felt filled with love for these family and friends who put everything aside to support me (and continue to do so). These observations, after the longest day of my life, were tremendously gratifying.

So I turned the volume up, sang my heart out and danced until my feet felt like they were going to fall off.  It was an expression of everything I was grateful for and it was a release of the acute grief and helplessness I felt upon losing my mother. You know that saying, “shake it off?” I did more than shake it off; I danced it off. I danced my pants off.

I put the flipping L-A-U-R-E-N in F-U-N-E-R-A-L that night, and it was awesome.

Take that, Cancer.



Leave Your Comments: 6 comments »  |  Post Tags: , death, parentless

6 Reader Comments

  1. Carrie

    Cheers to the worm!
    Keep dancing, sister :)

  2. LeeAnne

    I’m sad that the RSS feed for your blog is now truncated. :(

  3. Lauren Thaler

    Hi LeeAnne — Thank you for your message! I just fixed the RSS feed. The blog shouldn’t be truncated now.

    Hope all is well, and I really appreciate the feedback.

    All my best,

  4. LeeAnne

    Thanks! I really like your posts, and I was worried I might see them less and less, not wanting to click through to another window. I appreciate you considering the change!

  5. Brady

    L-A-U-R-E-N in F-U-N-E-R-A-L is absolutely brilliant…not far behind is ‘the FUN back in FUNeral’ (those hyphens are hard to type!). Way to go, Lauren! Thanks again for sharing, you make me laugh and smile.


  6. Lauren Thaler

    nothing like mixing word games and death, right? thanks so much for your support, brady — i really appreciate it!


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