“There’s a thunderstorm inside me. But sometimes it’s only raining.”
Outside, the rain has been falling all day. Dark and gloomy, we’ve stayed happily inside and done what families do on lazy, rainy, chilly Sundays.
But inside our home it has been falling for years. The raindrops are fewer and farther between, falling less like shards of glass and more like snowflakes that vanish at the first touch of warmth. But tonight, like so many nights since autumn fell, her eyes have grown cold and stormy as night draws close.
Of all the gifts we gave her, it is her eyes that I cherish most.
The color of hazelnuts ripening, they sparkle and grow warm with laughter. They glint sharply with the fiery nature that is both inspiring and infuriating. And like quicksand, you sink slowly and helplessly into them when they are dark with sadness. Like windows to her soul they reveal the damage left after the storm, the raw edges that have healed and those wounds still open and weeping.
Listening to the sound of the rain hitting the pane, I watch her little hands angrily rub away the tears that have broken free. She tells me about the color of her heart when sadness shuts it down and the color when it is not shut down. She tells me about the blackness inside, and the rain that falls, and of all the sadness that won’t go away. She tells me that it isn’t fair that her Daddy died, and that it isn’t fair that it is for me alone to keep them safe, and she wonders who will take care of me and keep me safe.
Tonight the thunderstorm has broken free.
“Sweetheart, I know about the thunderstorm and the rain. It’s inside me, too. And every time the storm gets really bad and it feels like it will never stop raining, I try really hard to remember one thing.”
Brushing back the gently curling hair that is my gift to her, I fight a smile as she reaches to do the same for me.
“That there’s always a rainbow after the rain. Even when we can’t see it, it’s there. And someday it won’t rain as much, and the thunderstorm will go away. And when that happens, that’s when you’ll see your rainbow.”
“What if it doesn’t have lots of colors in it?”
“It’s your rainbow – it can have as many colors as you want.”