I’m driving home from dropping the girls off at school and to my right, I see a beautiful linear rainbow, shooting down out of a storm cloud. It is a the fifth or sixth rainbow I’ve seen in the last three days. My eyes start to fill with tears and I begin to wonder if maybe all these rainbows are a sign from my father that everything is going to be okay.
My mother has been in the hospital (again) for the last three days. She fell, outside, sometime during the night Friday and fortunately, a passerby spotted her on her driveway early Saturday morning. Mom was lucky in a lot of ways – lucky she fell in the front yard, lucky the passerby listened to her instincts and made her husband stop, lucky that she lives relatively close to a major hospital. Definitely lucky, but at the same time, it was a close call and there were a lot of scary moments – her blood pressure when she arrived a the hospital for 47/18, her blood sugars were brushing with 600, and there is a long, deep, deep, deep gash in her left calf that will take months to heal. Hospital stays are never easy with my mother, even for “easy” things like cellulitis infections. She seems to follow this pattern of being almost impossible to wake for a few days, followed by a period of confusion that usually involves ripping out IVs and her mediport, then a period of belligerence where she accuses the doctors and nurses and me and my brother and sister of trying to kill her, and then finally she starts to get better and doesn’t remember anything that’s happened in the previous days and says that we’re all lying about her behavior. Exhausting doesn’t even begin to cover it. I’d rather have a root canal.
Today, Mom is between the confusion and belligerence stages. I’m trying to keep my energy up with green smoothies and long walks at the park, but sometimes that feels like protecting your house from a hurricane with cardboard. Still, when I see the rainbow I think my dad is sending me a sign.
Then, I realize that is ridiculous. My dad would never send a rainbow as sign. My dad didn’t work that way. He’d be far more likely to send someone to tell a completely tasteless joke at the most inopportune time. Or, he’d send something useful and home-baked, like a pumpkin pie. And I start to laugh because, I’m telling you, if I see a random pumpkin pie on the side of the road, I’m stopping and eating the whole thing. And I laugh more because the thought crosses my mind that I should probably start carrying a can of whipped cream around with me. And I laugh more because I realize that this ability to laugh at inappropriate times, to see the humor in even the most difficult of situations: that is a gift. And it comes straight from my father.