Mom Jokes And Laughs With Little Girl About Her Dad's Passing: 'Grief Humor Heals Your Soul'

"Laughter is the best medicine," as the old saying goes, and experts say it's exactly what this little girl needs.

TikToker and daughter joking about death and laughing TikTok

The old adage says that "laughter is the best medicine," and one mom is taking that to heart. Her approach to helping her daughter through her grief over her dad's death is certainly unorthodox.

But experts say she may be doing everything right — and maybe even making it easier on her kid.

A mom and her daughter joke about death to cope with the recent loss of her father. 

Jenna, known as "@jrod0511_" on TikTok, lost her husband Bryan late last year. Bryan and Jenna have a daughter, Rosie, and tragically had a baby on the way at the time of his death, Selena.


in loving memory card of dad who passed awayPhoto: TikTok

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With all that heartbreak, you might think Jenna and Rosie would be barely functioning — and they probably do have their handful of hard days, of course. But one thing is for sure — despite everything they've had to endure, neither has lost their sense of humor. 


In a video Jenna recently posted, she told her followers that she and Rosie were "thriving and surviving" in the wake of Bryan's passing. When she asked Rosie, who was playing in the background with a toy microphone, how she was doing, she had an unexpected and absolutely hilarious response.

Rosie bellowed into the microphone, "yeah, we gotta survive here, we gotta survive cause my father is dead!" The microphone was set on an echo setting, making her pronouncement about her father being dead reverberate through the house in the most irreverent way possible, which only made it funnier.



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In another video, Rosie said that laughing about her dad's death helped her remember him.

Perhaps it's unsurprising given all she's been through recently, but Rosie seems to have a wisdom well beyond her years. In another video, Jenna caught Rosie once again bellowing into her echoing microphone about her dad. But this time, her silliness turned poignant.

"B-R-Y-A-N," Rosie sang into the mic, "that's how you spell my father's name who is dead in heaven!" Through laughter, Jenna asked her "why are you announcing it on a fu-king microphone?" and Rosie's response was nothing short of insightful.

"We need to announce this thing, what happened in life — it's a good thing to remember!" And then came another gallows humor joke—"well, a bad thing because he's dead, that's the bad part… but the part where… I spell my father's name, that's the good part!" 

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tiktok of daughter joking about dad's deathPhoto: TikTok

Most people on TikTok absolutely loved Jenna and Rosie's irreverent take on such tragedy and many of them joined in on the jokes. "She said if I have to deal with it so do ya’ll and I stan that!" one woman wrote.

But of course—because there's always gotta be one—Jenna got her share of angry commenters, too. She addressed one in a follow-up TikTok, she addressed one who told her, "using dark grief humor with children isn't a healthy coping skill." Jenna's response—"whatever you say, Susan"---is perfect, because it turns out "Susan" is entirely wrong.


mom talking about using dark humor to help child grievePhoto: TikTok

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The psychology behind grief and humor's role in coping with our emotions says that Jenna is doing everything right for her little girl.

So-called "gallows humor" has been part of the human way of dealing with grief for millennia, and there's a reason why—it helps. Most of us have experienced this phenomenon for ourselves, but there's plenty of science to back it up too. 


A 2015 study of 200 victims of terror attacks, for instance, found that those who used humor to cope with the event lessened their emotional trauma symptoms. And another analysis by Frontiers in Health found that humor can help prevent the stress of a negative situation from turning into mental health conditions like anxiety and depression. 

That's all fine and good for adults, but things have to be different for kids, right? Not really, it turns out. Joking about death is one of the most common coping mechanisms for kids facing loss, in fact. And according to the Child Mind Institute, being direct about death is one of the most important ways to help a child through loss.

"When discussing death, never use euphemisms," the institute says. "Kids are extremely literal… and euphemisms interfere with their opportunity to develop healthy coping skills that they will need in the future." You can't really get more direct than hollering "My father is dead" into a toy microphone, right?


So it turns out Rosie's comedy stylings just might be as helpful as they are hilarious. Maybe she even has a future in the comedy world. As one commenter put it, "This girl is going places! Not with her dad but she's going places!" Rosie couldn't have said it better herself.

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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.