Over the Rainbow

December 17th, 2012



Double rainbow courtesy of topnews.in

When all the world is a hopeless jumble
And the raindrops tumble all around
Heaven opens a magic lane

When all the clouds darken up the skyway
There’s a rainbow highway to be found
Leading from your windowpane

To a place behind the sun
Just a step beyond the rain

Somewhere, over the rainbow
Way up high
There’s a land that I heard of
Once in a lullabye.

Somewhere, over the rainbow
Skies are blue
And the dreams that you dare to dream
Really do come true

Some day I’ll wish upon a star and wake up where the clouds are far behind me
Where troubles melt like lemon drops away above the chimney tops
That’s where you’ll find me

Somewhere, over the rainbow
Blue birds fly
Birds fly over the rainbow
Why, then oh, why can’t I?

If happy little bluebirds fly
Beyond the rainbow
Why, oh, why can’t I?”  Harold Arlen, E.Y. Harburg, 1939

When the end of life comes to people we love, we may question the “why?”   Trying to get to the “why” helps us wrap our arms and our minds, if not our hearts, around life’s greatest mystery. In some cases, we may never completely know the “why” or at least the”why now?”.

We can slowly put pieces together to arrive at something our minds can understand on a rational level.  But until we get to that place, when the facts aren’t solid, when the emotions are raw and bleeding, and when we hurt, and hurt badly, we might reach deep, and ask a universal question, “Where do we go when we die?”

We all think about it and I think most of us ask that question at some point in our lives.  There’s no way around death, we all face it, but for the approximately seven billion souls who inhabit this planet there isn’t  just one option to that answer, there are many.  Some of us think that no one knows the answer.  That seemed to be Shakespeare’s conclusion when his Hamlet called death “The undiscovered Country, from whose bourn no traveler returns”. Some of us just think there’s no answer because there’s nothing to answer.  We just end.   The majority of us turn to one of the over 20 recognized world religions and thousands of subgroups within those religions  for the answer.   Others have a deeply held personal belief system that isn’t tied to anything recognized by those who recognize such things.

When my own mind has been numbed and my own heart has been broken over a sudden and unexpected death, or any death,  I look for signs that there is a place they go, a place we go, and a place where they can still reach us.   There’s nothing rational about it, but being a person of faith, they comfort me.  I’ve seen those signs dozens of times with several loved ones, but the one that remains with me, and is most powerful, came from my father.

In May of 2003,  he drew my attention to an enormous double rainbow that appeared after one of those fast and furious  rain showers we sometimes see in the spring.  He just stood there at the window, and said to me “well, sister, you don’t see that every day, do you?”  He was almost stunned by it and he didn’t move until every piece of it vanished.  Every time I saw him after that, I kept thinking of his almost childlike fascination with that double rainbow.  About six weeks later, he made a point of telling me about a dream he had, an unusual move for him, but he wanted me to know because, as he said, “you’d understand these kinds of things.”  The dream was that he was on a train, with a group of people he’d never met, going to the East Coast.  When the train reached the coast, he boarded a boat, with the same group of people.  I asked who the people were and he said, “the strange thing is, I didn’t know a soul, but it felt just fine to me.”    He died suddenly one night in August a couple of weeks after the dream.

People do strange things in grief, or what might seem strange to others, but after a few weeks, it made perfect sense to me to get into his car and drive to the East Coast. Each day, we’d drive until we couldn’t any more and close to where we stopped, we’d see a rainbow.  We arrived at the coast, and still following the dream, we took a boat to an island.  But before we did, coming into Newport, Rhode Island, we saw the most spectacular double rainbow I had ever seen, topping the one Dad had pointed out that spring.

Ever since, the double rainbow, rare and beautiful, is my sign that life does go on.  It has happened twice since the “trip of many rainbows”.  Once to my husband, in Austin, Texas, right before he moved here to be with me in 2009, in the mid west.  I hoped that was Dad’s way of saying he approved.  About 9 months before that in Arizona, not quite six years after Dad’s death, I was in a very dark time for me and asked for a sign from my father that all would be well.  It was Easter day, and, as is expected in the desert, it hadn’t rained for months.  I was missing his guidance and his voice desperately.  Just then a little flash of rain hit us, and at the end, a double rainbow.  It was so big that almost everyone in  the dining room where I’d been eating  got up to stare at it.

Those signs are just mine and they may be coincidence, the randomness of nature.  I think not.  I choose to think that they represent life, renewed and in a different form, but still… life,  in a world both precarious and beautiful, a world without end.


2 Comments on “Over the Rainbow”

  1. Glinda the Good Witch said at 8:59 pm on February 24th, 2013:

    Beautifully written, Cindy. May your life always be filled with the gift of double rainbows.

  2. cindy said at 2:11 am on February 25th, 2013:

    And I hope yours is filled with pink bubbles!!!

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