As you probably now know, our middle son, Sam, died unexpectedly in October of 2013. Unless you are a family member, you don’t know that one the day Sam was born in 1993, there were rainbows everywhere in Addison County. We didn’t see them because we were in the hospital after a very difficult birth, and Sam was struggling. But family members and friends commented on how beautiful they were, and how the universe was clearly celebrating his birth.
Fast forward to the deepest hell any family can go through, the death of a child. We barely survived those first days, moving through the logistics feeling like we were drowning. Constantly surrounded by people, the door constantly opening and closing, the phone ringing off the hook.
On the Sunday following Sam’s death, we held a celebration of life in our town meeting house. It was full of love, joy, memories, tears, heartbreak and thanksgiving. But when it was over, that night, there was almost a vacuum sucking sound as everyone went home, went back to their “normal” lives, when we already recognized we would never get to have a normal life again.
The next day, we got up, and our youngest went off to school, hungry for a sense of schedule again. I was walking from the kitchen area to the garage, when I happened to look out the window to see this:
I yelled to my husband, and he joined me on the deck. From where we stood, on this bright and sunny day, there was no rational explanation for a rainbow. But there one was, and from our vantage point, it was like it was emanating from the cemetery where he’d been buried. The absolute shock and wonder took our breath away.
We weren’t the only ones who saw the rainbows that day, and all described them as looking like they were coming from the area of the cemetery.
Over the next weeks and months, Sam’s friends and family began to recognize the strange timing and placement of rainbows. There were rainbows on his birthday, on the anniversary of his death, when family members were in pictures rainbows could be seen only in the photos. There were rainbows on sunny days, no storms around. There were rainbows strangely “hanging” in the clouds. And slowly, a collection of photos of Sam’s rainbows grew.
Several of my favorites have to do with family:
The first was his brothers and dad doing a Mother’s Day garden for me, and in the photo, it looks like they are showered with rainbows. The second is in Scotland, at a site he had so wanted to visit, and when we looked at the photo a week after it was taken, we have a rainbow across us.
And just last week, as we traveled to see someone very close to Sam, another strange rainbow appeared in a bright and clear sky:
But, my ultimate favorite was from a concert last summer. Sam loved the band Twiddle with all his heart, and their big festival last year happened to fall on his birthday — he would have been certain it was to honor him. It was a clear, sunny day, and suddenly, we all saw this:
So, I can’t saw with scientific certainty that Sam is messing with rainbows. But I can say that rainbows have an amazing way of appearing on days when there is a huge significance, and they bring us joy and peace.
That’s why I post so many rainbow pictures.