The thing about rainbows

The day you died I saw a rainbow

so brilliant each color was, vibrant on its own.

I marveled upon its grace, feeling blessed,

not yet knowing that was the day you chose.

I named them out loud

violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange, red.

I didn’t even know them by heart,

so defined was that rainbow, across the field.

The next day when we found out,

we wondered if the rainbow was yours.

“Somewhere over the rainbow, birds do fly,

and if birds fly over the rainbow, why can’t I?”

We are all left wondering if we could have done more

to help you fight that disease as we watched you

rot from the inside out, reaching for you,

hoping it was the moment you would grasp our hand.

Though we reminded you of your worth

we couldn’t combat the cancer in your soul.

You couldn’t understand the value you had in our lives

because you couldn’t reconcile your mistakes with living.

You didn’t understand basic human rights of give and take.

Though you gave so much, too much,

you thought you only took,

internalizing it until you couldn’t forgive yourself.

You had many decisions to make to move your life forward.

Yet you were paralyzed from making those choices,

until the day the rainbow came, you finally made one.

The one decision that left us all stunned, lost, wondering.

I think if you had really understood the aftermath,

you wouldn’t have made that choice.

But you couldn’t see the rainbow that day.

You couldn’t see a future without pain.

I’ll never look at rainbows the same way again.

I’ll think of you, forgiveness, and hope.

The thing about rainbows is we can only see them from afar,

we never know when we’re standing directly under them.

National suicide prevention hotline: 1-800-273-8255

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Gretchen Leigh is a stay-at-home mom who lives in a neighborhood near you. You can read more of her writing on her website livingwithgleigh.com. To see her columns come to life, follow her on Facebook at Living with Gleigh by Gretchen Leigh.
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