Get the latest from TODAY
Louise Bonnett-Rampersaud, a mother of two and a children's book author from Sandy Spring, Maryland, has seemingly little to laugh about: She was widowed in 2014 after her husband struggled for a decade with a rare disease. Then just last year, she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
But now, in her new blog, “The Bits and Bobs,” Bonnett-Rampersaud, 46, attempts to “unsuck” her life, celebrating the dark humor in random, every day moments. She tells TODAY why keeping her readers laughing gives her — and them — strength and hope.
I started “The Bits and Bobs” because I was mad. Anger is part of grieving, but my circumstances kicked it up a notch. As if losing my husband alone were not enough, I had to handle my own medical crisis and worry about how it affected my children.
My blog has definitely been a vehicle to help get through grieving. Making myself laugh is the battle. My husband Richard was always very funny and verbally witty, and we played off each other. I think he would have appreciated it.
Last August, I was diagnosed with MS and it really put me in a tailspin. After Richard passed away, I was in shock. Two weeks later, though, I couldn't move my right eye very easily. At first, I put it down to stress, but then it got worse. Testing showed optic neuritis, which can be linked to MS. At the time, an MRI showed nothing. If they had seen lesions on my brain, they would have known it was MS.
Fast forward to my trip to Ireland, where Richard wanted me to bury his ashes. When I came back, I was ready to gear up for work at the local school again, and my vision went haywire. I couldn’t walk properly or track my eyes. It was like seeing through a kaleidoscope. I had another MRI and they found three lesions on my brain stem.
I was out of work for six weeks, taking intense steroids. It was incapacitating and frightening, especially for my kids. They had just dealt with their dad’s death, and it was terrifying to see something wrong with me.
About three months ago, I started the blog. I write about whatever springs to mind. It’s not a site for organizational tips or parenting, but just random humor. And people seem to be laughing.
In recent months, I’ve been into whole foods.
Whole bags of chips.
It might be the widow thing. I’m not sure.
My bank recently charged me $38.50 for bouncing a check when I thought it was fairly obvious I didn’t have any money in the first place. Clearly, they do not understand cash flow, which is a bit naughty, considering they go by the name BANK.
One woman commented: “LOVE the bank story. And it’s so true. Your mind is an endless maze of creative thinking. I think we need to put your brain to work on some bigger issues, like campaign finance reform, unemployment or world peace! Thanks for the laughs.”
Everyone needs a laugh, and I try to help someone laugh along with sadness.
So it was just me and Chris. Oh, and all the other people at the reception, but who’s counting?
ME: I’m a huge fan! (wanted to start off with something original).
ME: No, seriously. My husband and I both are. He’s been very sick and every time he comes out of the hospital we listen to your music over and over again. We listen to Fix Me all the time.
HIM: You mean Fix You?
I use a different kind of humor for my children’s books ["The Secret Knock Club"], which are written for a second- to fourth-grade audience. Each book is based on a community service project gone awry. The main character, Agnes, attempts to be helpful and kind, but is too forthright and bold for herself, realizes she causes harm, then self-checks and makes it right.
I am doing some holistic things, like paying to attention to my diet, which have helped the inflammatory process of MS. The medications I am on can damage your liver, but my last blood work was great. I have to say, I do notice when I stick to dietary changes, I feel the difference. I am also looking into yoga.
When I land on my feet, I’d like to do more work with research on vascular Ehlers-Danlos. The word needs to get out.
I hope my blog helps others — not just widows, but anyone who has experienced tragedy. Recognize that it will be a struggle. It’s never going to be easy. Try to laugh at times. If you can laugh and cry through a lot of it, one day things will not be easy, but a little easier.
I still try to have a sense of hope and optimism. Laughter helps in any situation. Hopefully, I can touch any number of people in a bad place, who need a laugh at the end of the day.
Granted, he was cremated, but I’m pretty sure TSA training should include both forms of dead.
Regular and sprinkle. …
BUT, it turns out a body can go through not one, but TWO, major airports completely undetected.
I found it strange I couldn’t bring more than 3.4 ounces of liquid on-board, for fear of what? I would randomly start spritzing people mid-flight? But 10 or so ounces of dead husband gets an ‘all-clear?’