Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Rainbow & the Woman Under the Umbrella

We are here and she is not.  I say that, but then, something happens and I am not so sure.

We arrived at the beach on Sunday evening after a full day of travel.  Everything looked the same, except Grannie was not there, perched upon the couch, anxiously awaiting our arrival.  It was raining when we got here, but it soon abated.  Dad went out to the main high rise to get some ice, but then ran back in.  

Come look at the rainbow!

My heart seized.  A rainbow.  God knows that during some of the most difficult and most disconcerting times in my life, I have clung to rainbows as a symbol of His unceasing desire to love me and carry me through.  In my darkest times, He dazzles me with an array of hope in every color on the spectrum.  It’s come to be bit of a secret symbol between Him and me.  I know He’s watching.  I know He cares enough to send me a tangible symbol of His promises.

The kids clamored out the door and we looked, drinking in the beautiful hues that extended from the top of the sky to the waters of the ocean.  What else could I say but Grannie is letting us know that she is here.

The weather yesterday was interesting, too.  It rained a few times when we were in the ocean, which the kids thought was the coolest.  Abby rolled with the waves and Hannah danced in the raindrop-pitted sand.  It was a sweet respite from the heat and felt more like a blessing than an intrusion.  When I looked at the radar map it appeared that a big storm was always headed our way, but I swear Grannie must have been up there directing the clouds because the big storms seem to go right around us.  It seemed to pour on Flagler Beach (north) and Daytona Beach (south), but mysteriously, Ormond Beach was spared.  I always knew she had an “in” with God, but never did I imagine her pull would be great enough to manipulate the weather.

Up until late this morning, Hannah and Abby seemed to be handling everything quite well.  We would talk about Grannie without bursting into tears or sitting in sadness.  It was more wistful nostalgia than mourning.  More laughing about what Grannie would have said than lamenting her absence. 

And then, the tide turned. 

We were playing on the beach and all of the sudden it was as if someone had flipped a switch in Hannah.  She immediately became withdrawn, sullen, and would not talk to anyone.  I had a strong inkling that something had conjured up feelings of sadness and loss inside of her, but for the life of me, I could not figure out what it was.  When I got her semi-calmed down, I asked her if she was missing Grannie.

I wanted her to come here before she died.

Then later, I just want to go home to my friends.  I want to swim in my pool.  I just want to go home.

My interpretation?

This is overwhelming for me to be here without her. Everywhere I look, I am reminded of her.   If I go home, maybe I won’t feel this way.

To sum it up, I finally got her calmed down with lunch and PBS Kids.  But the process was not without my own tears.  Yes, tears of my own grief, but also tears shed for my daughter, my sweet little four-year old daughter whose heart is filled with pain.  It is true -- when she hurts, when she drowns in her own sorrow, I drown, too.  It is this invisible cord that stretches between mother and daughter, an emotional wave that we both ride together.

When Dad and Carol came up, Carol said, I think I know what did it.  Did you see that woman under the umbrella on the beach?  She looked just like Grannie.  Even I had to do a double take.

I gather now that that woman sitting under the umbrella reminded Hannah of Grannie and all she could do was act out in anger. 

Why does she get to be here and my Grannie doesn’t? 

Of course, I could be projecting because as I see families gathering together here at the beach, the same thoughts course through my own head.  I am envious.  I am a bit downtrodden.  Simply put, I want what they have, or rather, I just want Grannie.

So, now, I cling to the rainbow, the hope that all of this is just part of the grieving/healing process.  My prayer is that the more Hannah is able to openly process her grief, the more space is left in her heart for joy, the more her eyes are open to Grannie’s presence, and the more hope she will have in God for soothing her broken heart.


  1. Oh Jen, I am so sorry that your little one is going through such pain at the loss of her grandmother. It's so hard for the little ones, because they can't yet articulate their feelings, but you as mommy knew her heart exactly. Praying for His strength and peace for all of you.

  2. Hi Jen, Since I am new to following your blog, I went back and read through some of your earlier posts.... Your Grannie was Beautiful.

    Wishing you and your children a most happy weekend.

  3. Ah, what a sweet wind to rush over your soul - the rainbow. What peace!

    I know what that is - that connection to God that almost can't be explained. Yesterday, I had the same experience in the reading of this verse:

    Zeph. 3:17
    "The Lord your God is with you,
    he is mighty to save.
    He will take great delight in you,
    you will quiet you with his love,
    he will rejoice over you with singing."

    I hope it will bless you too as you grieve with the ones precious to you.

  4. I have an award for you at my blog! I love your authenticity, and the stories of your family...
    Wishing you a peaceful day.


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