Be thou the rainbow in the storms of life. The evening beam that smiles the clouds away, and tints tomorrow with prophetic ray. ~Lord Byron
Life got a bit stormy this past week, starting last weekend. Following news of my aunt’s passing, there was grief and chaos as the family gathered from various states on Long Island to say goodbye and to be together to support one another. Today, it’s not the grief that I focus on, it’s the gathering together and the rainbow in the clouds.
I have dealt, poorly, with the death of loved ones before, and I certainly wasn’t ready this time. Life and death rarely wait until we are ready. At a point in my journey where I felt like I couldn’t afford distractions, I was forced to step off the path. In so doing, I found peace and love and the energy and inspiration to keep going with my life.
Once again, inspired by a particular meditation from Oprah & Deepak, I listened to Oprah’s story about a difficult time in her life and advice from Maya Angelou to look for the rainbows in the clouds. To focus on gratitude to manifest grace.
Chaos, phone calls, texts, travel, work on Sunday, make up the guest bed, clean the house. My parents arrived from Kentucky on Sunday and I picked my nephew up from the airport on Monday. Relatives from all sides of the family traveled from here and there. Rooms were found at neighbors’ and friends’ houses. Meals were planned, arrangements made.
The family gathered.
And that’s where I found my rainbows.
The family gathered and we shared our stories. So many of us have the same memories of Audrey: her laugh, she smiled a lot, family was important, she accepted us and loved us the way we are, she kept us connected. I realized that the values of family, love and acceptance, keeping connected are values that are passed down, one generation to the next. As I’ve grown older, I also have learned that not all families get along. So, I am grateful that I actually enjoy spending time with my family. Family is where I know I’ll always find love and acceptance. That’s the big one, the big reminder, the rainbow in the clouds.
There were many other rainbows, and as I write this, I realize they are also mostly about family.
- I spent time with my 18-year-old nephew, Drew, time I didn’t expect to have with him. Driving in traffic on the Van Wyck from LaGuardia airport to Wantagh was more pleasant because he was with me.
- Staying overnight with Audrey’s best friend, Barbara, so I didn’t have to drive back to Connecticut on Monday night.
- Arts and crafts and sweet conversation with 4-year-old Ava:
- Ava: Do you have children
- Me: no
- Ava: Well, you do now… we’re here
- Girls in the City: remembering those times when my mother, my aunt, my cousins and I met in New York for lunch, dessert and some walking. Chinatown, Little Italy, Central Park. The time at Serendipity when a lady at a nearby table, looking at all of the desserts we were sharing, said: “Oh, are you guys here just for dessert?” Uh, no we had lunch.
- That I actually like my family and want to spend time with them.
I came home and life goes on. Tears shed, grief spent (for now) and rainbows spotted. It was a cloudy week, but it is the rainbows that stay with me.