Sadly, the summer of 2013 came on the heels of another loss for our family. A heartbreakingly similar one. My aunt, my mom's sister--whom I loved dearly--passed away in June after a long illness. I know I'm not alone in my big, close-knit extended family when I say, we are all feeling a measure of shock that this could happen again, and so soon. But it did.
My aunt's services were different than my mom's. Ever the nonconformist, my mother had requested a party, not a memorial. (There was a band.) My aunt's took place at my childhood church. They were more traditional, but no less beautiful.
The evening of the wake was gray and drizzling. The weather seemed to reflect our heavy hearts. And then, when calling hours were over, we stepped outside. The rain had stopped. The pavement was slick and glistening. I turned my face to the sky. And there it was--a rainbow--stretched wide across the sky just above us.
Days earlier, only hours after my aunt had passed, a friend emailed me a picture of a huge rainbow over the lake where she'd lived. And here it was again.
Now, I understand rainbows are naturally occurring (and not all that uncommon) weather phenomena. But you simply can't look up at the sky, feeling as bereft as we all did, to glimpse the most exquisite rainbow you've ever seen, and not wonder if there's a message in it.
This summer I saw more rainbows than I can count. It seemed after each rain, there one was. Friends saw them, too. Many a morning I'd wake up with a picture waiting in my inbox of a rainbow they'd seen the evening before, or on their morning walk.
I feel like a My Little Pony character when I say: it was a rainbow-filled summer.
So much so, that I began to ask, "Where's the rainbow?" after each storm. And not just the literal storms, but the metaphorical ones, too. Late in the summer, my husband faced some professional challenges that kept him up more than a few nights.
Amidst the worry and weight of it all, I asked, "Where's the rainbow?" A few days later, there it was. In the form of a new, better solution that has made him happier and more successful.
Now, when darker moments happen, I wait for the splash of color in the sky. I remember that the truest gift is having the mind, body and spirit to weather the storm--and move forward.
[G Love playing at the Beachcomber in Wellfleet, MA this summer. I turned to my friend and said, "I hope he does Rainbow." A moment later, I heard the chords to the lead-in for the song. ]