The meaning of a rainbow

Published 8:00 am Friday, September 30, 2022

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I’d hate to write my column and not remember, in some way, the Queen of England. Queen Elizabeth was somewhat of a common topic of conversation in my household. She’d been reigning for the entirety of my parents’ lives and mine, and I’d always kind of thought the world would be shaken up when she passed away. She also resembled my mom’s mother a great deal, whom I never met.

I was on a phone call for work in my bedroom when my mom shouted for me. The headline on news stated Queen Elizabeth’s passing. Later that day, the TV showed a clip of Buckingham Palace and a double rainbow adorning the sky above it. Most people thought it was symbolic of her passing, some said it was a sign from the heavens that she’d made it.

Now let’s go back twelve years.

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Picture it: eleven-year-old M.M. asleep in her childhood bedroom. My mom kneeled beside my bed, gently shook me awake, and explained to me that my grandpa had passed away early that morning.

She was wearing a green shirt, I recall, and it was a sunny morning. My dad had worn an Elvis Presley tie to go with his suit at Grandpa’s funeral because he’d loved Elvis. The little details about his death and the days following are locked in my memory, like how the whole family had come to my grandma’s house for two straight weeks to spend time with her, while I’d roam in the backyard and sit on the swing Grandpa made me and my sister.

On one of the slower days, the family gatherings were withering away down to just a few cousins and uncles. I was alone, down at the rope swing, and I spotted a rainbow sprouting up from behind the steeple of the church by Grandma’s house. I stared at it for a long time, wondering what it meant, if it meant anything at all. Perhaps, as rainbows symbolize, God’s promise that day was that Grandpa had made it safely to his home.

Perhaps the double rainbows we saw over Buckingham Palace meant that the Queen had joined him up there.

After I spotted that rainbow one day after my grandpa’s funeral, I don’t remember a single following moment. The rainbow, if you will, was what I’d call a peaceful ending to the whole affair––a promise that it was okay.

And I’ll believe that now and for the rest of my life.