Last night, I drove my living children home in the pouring rain. They were both crying too, because our trip had been to the airport. We had dropped my sister off to catch her flight home to Singapore and would not being seeing her for another year. At least. The kids were devastated. Their beloved aunt was leaving and the rain was coming down in buckets and matched their sad mood. After some time, the cries ended and the kids were distracted by the toys in the backseat. The rain stopped too, and out of the corner of my eye I spotted a rainbow. It was just a tiny glimmer, and when I tried to point it out to them, they couldn’t see it. “There, over the trees. On the left side of the car.” Still they couldn’t see it. But suddenly, the clouds were pushed back just a little bit more, and the rainbow came out in full. It stretched right across the sky, and right over the road, giving the illusion that we could drive right through it. To have my two rainbow children in the backseat as I drove through a rainbow was a beautiful moment.

It got me thinking about how we teach our rainbow children to say goodbye, and how the death of my sons changed my view on goodbyes. Life is filled with sad goodbyes. A death is the saddest goodbye of all, of course. But in life we all have to teach our children about changes: to say goodbye to friends when they move away, or to say goodbye to their daycare as they move up to “big school”. Having had to say goodbye to two children, do I teach my living children differently about goodbyes than other friends who have not experienced this ultimate goodbye? Are they sadder when they say goodbye to their aunt because goodbyes are hard? Or do they recover more quickly, because they know that this is only a goodbye for now and not a goodbye forever? When I say goodbye, I often feel acutely aware that this could be the last time, even if I have no concrete reason to think that way.

But before I know it, that moment has passed. At first, a small ray of hope peeks through. I can just see it out of the corner of my eye. And then, hope appears in all it’s glory. Sometimes in the form of a rainbow.

I want goodbyes to be beautiful moments. Bittersweet moments. Happy at the future to come as well as sad that the past has ended. I want to experience life in all it’s fullness and this includes the sad moments and the difficult moments. I want my children to know that goodbyes can be cherished and that they can play a part in helping others through these transitional times. I want them to know that they can be someone’s rainbow. They certainly have been mine.

Image by jiihacxi on used under Creative Commons licence

Image by jiihacxi on used under Creative Commons licence

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