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Rainbows promise hope that tomorrow will be brighter

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I was driving home one day a couple of weeks ago when I came around the corner and right in front of me was a beautiful rainbow. The biggest, colorful rainbow I had ever seen. When I pulled into my driveway, it seemed as if the rainbow had followed me home. I went to my back deck and there it was!

As I was marveling at the beauty, it reminded me of a rainbow from my past. I had been working for Boeing in Kent. My husband and I were about to embark on a whole new life in Wenatchee. That particular day was my last day at Boeing and I was torn. I loved my job, great co-workers and we had a stable income. My husband was finishing his educational degree and was going to student teach in Wenatchee (which we all know does not come with a salary) and I was taking a job as a church secretary.

As I walked out the doors at Boeing, in tears, there in front of me was a large rainbow. It looked as if it started right there in the parking lot and was extended all the way to Wenatchee. Most people believe that a rainbow is a sign of hope. For me that day it was indeed that sign! I immediately felt at peace with the decisions that we had made.

So how does grief compare to a rainbow? First of all, a rainbow starts when rain hits the sunshine. When we grieve there always seems to be a lot of tears, even on sunny days. We don't know when or where either will begin. And, we may never really see the end of grief or a rainbow. We try to find where a rainbow begins so we can reach out and touch it, but we never really seem to find it. When a death occurs, we realize we can no longer see or touch our loved one.

However, there is hope in both. According to the dictionary, the meaning of hope is: A feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen. Grief helps individuals face a death, helping us make adjustments in life, finding a way to live our lives without our loved one. Just like that day in Kent, I knew that at the end of the rainbow was a new beginning. If you are grieving, think of a rainbow and know that there is hope -- hope for a brighter tomorrow.

Karen Sheppard is the executive director of the Grief Place - NCW Loss Support. She can be reached at