The Year of Rainbows

“Life is like a rainbow. You need both the sun and the rain to make its colours appear.” Author Unknown.

2018 has definitely been a rainbow.

In January, we got the distressing news that our dear Joan had terminal cancer.

In February, my Granny had a terrible fall and required surgery.

In March, I had surgery to remove a nasty cyst and make amends to the mess that was caused after our twins were born.

In April, our beautiful Indiana turned seven.

In May, Indiana was diagnosed with epilepsy.

In June, we said goodbye to our darling Joan.

In July, a very unexpected ray of sunshine was taken from us when we miscarried. Again.

In August, our fabulous Orlando turned eleven.

In November, we lost my Granny to a stroke.

In November, we celebrated our gorgeous Lucia’s 6th Birthday.

In November, on the day of our daughter Charlize’s 6th Anniversary we buried my Granny.

This was the day we were involved in a life changing car accident.

I harbour intense upset for this day and it has taught me lessons about life I wished never to learn.

My Granny’s funeral was originally planned for Lucia’s Birthday until I made it very clear I would not attend. Instead, the powers of be, who clearly do not understand the impact at the loss of a child, booked her funeral for my daughters anniversary. The only day of the year my family and I choose to take a step away from life and mourn our daughter and their baby sister.

Being the first grandchild I wanted to read a eulogy for my Granny at her funeral. The powers of be cited time restraints of keeping the service to an hour and suggested I share ‘a memory of her’ at the wake!

On the day, the service went for two hours with the eulogies taking over an hour on their own.

It made me realise very rapidly that sometimes families forget that children grow up and become adults and should be treated accordingly. I loved my Granny deeply and should’ve been able to acknowledge that on the day we laid her to rest.

The emotional exhaustion I feel at that time of year as our daughters anniversary approaches is indescribable. To have to bury my Granny on this day too was unthinkable.

At my Granny’s burial there was a butterfly release. One of the butterflies landed on my Dad’s hand and would not let go. My own family all looked at eachother with a smile and we whispered in unison ‘Charlize’.

You see, not long after our Charlize died my Dad called me. He told me he was working on a property and he noticed a butterfly following him. This butterfly stayed with him for quite some time and eventually she touched his cheek. It was at this moment my Dad said ‘Hello Charlize, have you come to say hello to Grandpa?’

It was from that day that the significance of Charlize as a butterfly was an important symbol in our family.

At the burial we watched as the butterfly fluttered from my Dad’s hand and landed on the metal tracks that wind the coffin into the ground.

It was such a hot day and I was in no doubt that butterfly was my daughter. After watching her for a while feeling anxious she would die my brother nudged me to get her. I quickly walked to her, picked her up in my hands and left the burial site.

I walked towards my car where my husband and children were waiting for me. I beckoned them out still holding that beautiful butterfly.

Once we were all standing together in the shade I opened my hands and she instantly flew to Lucia. She was resting on her hand.

I knew at this point for absolute certain this was Charlize. She eventually flew to Indiana and Orlando and we then placed her in the shade of a tree. When I looked around I realised we were actually standing in the baby cemetery not far from where my own baby sister is buried.

We all left the cemetery with smiles on our faces and hearts filled with love.

It is no surprise to me then that a few hours later we walked away from a horrific accident. This miracle, or rainbow, was Charlize protecting her family. Of that I am sure.

We had so much rain in 2017 that at times I wondered if my heart could take it anymore. My body was heavy and soaked through to my soul.

But then there is always sunshine. It warms the heart, the body, the mind and gives you strength to get through the next puddle of life.

Our sunshine in 2017 came in the form of a delightful golden puppy named Caramello.

She creates an element of magic in my children’s lives.

We got a pool and we built the most tranquil vegetable garden I’ve ever seen. We saw shows, we went on adventures, we learnt new things, we made new friends, we started new traditions and as a family we learnt how to conquer epilepsy (well sometimes).

For all the rain and the sunshine there are plenty of rainbows but this year we were blessed with pots of gold and here they are;

The courage and bravery of my children who watched as life took Joan away from us makes my heart melt. It taught them that whatever is born must die. No matter how much we love and nurture them. No matter how hard we wish it not to be true. My three little people loved her with every ray of sunshine they had and they continue to love her and keep her memory alive.

My Nanna, or Buz-Nanna to my children is a true pot of gold. This year we were blessed with numerous visits from her. Each time she stayed their knitting progressed, they learnt more of our family history and they fell in love with her over and over. Always begging her not to go home. Each time we farewelled her at the airport she cried.

Whilst we were in Sydney we stayed with my parents. Each night for some reason Indiana decided she would not take her epilepsy medication unless Grandpa promised to sing with her. She didn’t need to be so drastic because Grandpa would sing with her anyway. After the other kids were in bed I hid one night and watched them. Curled up together with Indiana’s iPad singing along to ‘Riptide’. Indiana’s current favourite song. Dad found the words and watching those two sing together made the rain come out of my eyes.

The pots of gold in our life have been those moments that made my heart feel like it would burst out of my chest. It was pride, amazement and most of all love.

For all the puddles we’ve jumped in this year, the splashes have been worth it.

Dearest Life, Without rain and sunshine my garden doesn’t thrive. I just ask that next year you balance our life with more rainbows and pots of gold to heal us after the storms of this year.

With love,

Christine x

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