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Rainbows and Hope

It has been a challenging start to the year for some of the families that the True Colours team supports. The sadness and grief that the death of a child brings into families lives are insurmountable… and in fact indescribable.

As I was driving back from a rural town after visiting with a family, I was aware of the rainbow overarching the hills in front of me. It evoked memories as I reflected on the many years I have been doing this work with sick children and their families, and that rainbows are a prominent aspect of children’s artwork.

Young children draw rainbows and have their sick brother or sister who has died “sitting on the rainbow”, or “walking through the rainbow to the other side”. One child expressed that when she sees a rainbow, she feels “that everything is going to be ok”. Another child said “her brother made the rainbow”. Children often have the capacity to look for hope and meaning in the hardest times.

As I listened to a 12 year old girl whose brother was seriously unwell, she expressed she had a “sick tummy”. As we sat and talked creating art together she drew a rainbow with different colours on the paper. In the background of the rainbow she began to draw a picture of ‘heaven’ and in the forefront of the picture she drew her brother and herself. She then explained to me that “her brother was going to heaven” and she would say goodbye, but she would “see him again one day”. As she drew, she told me she no longer had a “sick tummy”.

This child encapsulated ‘hope’ when the situation was so intense and devastating. She was creating her own ‘meaning’ out of the grief she had for her brother, finding a way to stay connected to him. This art work hangs on her wall to remind her of the “special place” her brother went to after he died. Rainbows remind us of the things we cannot explain… it reminds us of the beauty outside of the pain.

In dedication to the children who have died this year, in honour of their lives and the strength of their families, these lyrics of Tim Finn’s song say it well.

All the Colours
I can never forget the day we said goodbye
Holding your hands, a rainbow low in the sky
And all the colours there to gather you up
And carry you up
All the colours there to gather you up
Now we’re left here to get on with our things
Writing it down and working
With wood and strings
And all the colours there to open us up
And bring us luck
All the colours there to open us up
You went walking through that door
Leaving it ajar
Whenever things come to an end
It takes a while to close it again
And all the colours there gently pushing it shut
They’re pushing it shut
All the colours there to open us up
And bring us luck
And all the colours there to gather us up
To gather us up
To gather us up
To gather you up again
Tim Finn (sung by Neil and Tim)
“The soul would have no rainbow if the eyes had no tears” – John Vance Cheney




 

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