Yesterday at the hospital my mother and I received news we didn’t expect, a medical diagnosis no one wants to hear. After the doctor left the room, I went to the hospital’s atrium and began to talk silently to my deceased father and sister, something I don’t normally do. I asked them to please help me cope with this and to watch over my mom. Then I went back into her room to sit by her side.
My husband and I left the hospital around 7 p.m. so my mother could get some rest. It was a cloudy, rainy evening, but the sun was still shining in places. As we drove up the interstate, my husband said, “It’s a perfect night for a rainbow.” Suddenly there it was, the brightest rainbow I had ever seen, almost like neon lights shining through the blue-gray sky. Alongside the bright rainbow was a lighter, softer one. The double rainbow began at ground level and arched to an opposite end. Sometimes rainbows are more subtle, hardly discernible, and often only one end can be seen, the other end mysteriously disappearing. These two rainbows slowed traffic as drivers braked in wonder at the beauty.
In my mind, the brightest of the two rainbows was a message from my sister. She always was strong and attention-getting. My dad was the quieter of the two, strong in his own way, but in the background. The rainbows reminded me of the flowers that once bloomed on my peace lily plant. I may have written about them already, but they too seemed to me to be signs from my dad and sister that all would be right in the end. The plant was a gift from the school where I taught, given to me when my father died. There were several white flowers on it then, but after they died, I struggled to keep the plant alive and it didn’t bloom again for years. The day of my sister’s surgery a flower suddenly appeared on the plant where no flower had been the day before. After that flower died off, the plant seemed to be dormant again. My husband separated the plant in two, creating two vibrant plants with no blooms. The day of my sister’s funeral the plants bloomed again, a white flower appearing on each. The next bloom came the day of my mother’s 85th birthday celebratory party, a major family gathering that my sister and my father may have attended in their own way.
Some people would think I’m a little crazy, believing messages come to me through a plant or a rainbow. I don’t care. I need to believe in them. I need comfort from my father and my sister, and I need to know they will watch over my mother from this day on to the very end.