The baby naps, Bear and Mouse watch a movie, Bug and LE are having a picnic, the house is quiet. The stillness of the house makes the churning in my stomach grow louder. I wander a bit from sweeping the front room to making the bed to filling the sink with water to staring out the window. Our property and the adjacent field is bathed in golden light and I decide to take the dogs for a walk.
And I think back on last year. On the hours spent playing board games with the kids. On the hours spent pacing through the house. On the hours spent staring out my window. On the moment life became a prison sentence. And this churning in the pit of my stomach knows no end.
I think of the conversations I have had with other mothers who tell me the second year was harder than the first. To the counselor who told me it can take years to really recover from the shock of losing a child unexpectedly. But I don’t have years. I have children. Children who need more than a mother who is coping.
But I know it has gotten better. It doesn’t always feel like it has, I think because so much of last year was lost to a haze I can scarcely see through. I don’t really remember what it was like. Not clearly. But I do know that a year ago I would not have stepped outside. To feed the chickens, yes. If the children called me out, maybe. But because the property was bathed in a golden light and I thought I might find some peace standing in its midst? Never.
A year ago, I was dead inside and I didn’t really care if I ever felt anything else. Now, there is just this churning, this continual anxiety that rests in the pit of my stomach and never quite takes over and never quite goes away.
“Lord, please . . . “
I ask. But I don’t quite know what I’m praying for. My soul pleads, but there are no words so I turn toward the cemetary where I can see the cedar trees lining the northern edge. The dogs stop at the edge of our windbreak, waiting to see if I’m going to walk to the pasture or just stand there and then I see it.
A beautiful rainbow stretching across the sky. One of the most beautiful I have ever seen.
And the tears begin to flow and my chest heaves with its sobs. I know what the rainbow means, but I want those promises for me. I want to know my children will come through this. I want to know that Micah won’t struggle because so much of his early life was dominated by his mother’s grief. I want to know that this won’t happen again.
I hear Bug calling from the windbreak. I struggle to regain my composure as she runs up to me.
“Mommy! Mommy! Do you see the rainbow? Isn’t it beautiful?”
“Yes, it is sweetheart. It’s very beautiful.”
I say it without looking. My back to the rainbow, I look at her shining face.
“Look, Mommy! You have to look!”
I turn, and I look, and I see. A double rainbow.
And the knot in my stomach eases just a little bit.
Julie is looking to possibly head up our first book discussion if there is any interest. If you would be interested in joining in a discussion of the book “When Life is Hard” by James MacDonald, pop in and let her know!