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Those near and dear to us want to leave us with a sense of hope and the sense that it's OK that life goes on

"Somewhere over the rainbow, way up high,

There's a land that I've heard of once in a lullaby.

Somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue,

And the dreams that you dare to dream,

Really do come true."

Music and lyrics by

Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg

OK, I'm not Judy Garland. But the occurrence of rainbows in the world is a matter of some interest to me. I sort of know the scientific reason for them, but it's their unscientific nature that really intrigues me. There are times, for instance, when they suddenly appear without warning and the causes seem unknown — or maybe they are known, somewhere deep in our lizard brain — that part of the brain that is still related to its primordial self. But let me give you a few examples of what I'm talking about.Kay Jewett

The people who owned our house before we did had a daughter who unfortunately died. They told me that on the day of her memorial they were leaving when suddenly and without warning, a small rainbow appeared over the driveway right in front of them. I say without warning, because it was not, nor had it been, raining. Say what you will, they were convinced that it was their daughter giving a sign that she was all right.

The next early demise at our homestead was the passing of our beloved dog Sophie. She, too, went before her time and my husband and I were in a state of grief. We decided that we couldn't stay in the house, so we left to go for a drive. It was a perfectly clear day, and you guessed it, a big rainbow travelling the length of the sky appeared just behind our horses' lean-to. No rain, hardly any clouds. It was a beautiful rainbow, though, and its presence made us both feel better. When my son saw it, his comment was "Cool! The dog's up in the sky." I don't know if I would go so far as to say that, but it was indeed, cool.

So it seems that this is turning into a story about the dearly departed, but my last experience with the phenomena of mysteriously appearing rainbows occurred recently when a dear childhood friend passed away. Although his memorial was on the other side of the country, at the hour it was to take place, another rainbow appeared on another cloudless day.

What to make of this? I don't know, but I'm very grateful for the appearance of each of these rainbows. They seemed to me to be a symbol of hope and continuity.

I was contemplating all of this when I picked up a small book while waiting in my doctor's office. It was called "I Will See You in Heaven" by Jack Wintz, a Franciscan friar of 50 years standing. The cover featured a beautiful golden retriever. In the book, Friar Jack reminded me that the Bible says God sent a rainbow after the flood as a way to tell Noah and the rest of us that he would never destroy the earth again. It heralded a new beginning and was also the symbol of a sacred promise. He went on to put forth the premise that there was a reason God created animals on the same day He created man and a reason why He also saved them when He saved Noah and his family. Man and his animals have been forever intertwined and dependent on each other. God has been careful to keep us all together, so it stands to reason, according to Friar Jack, that he would keep us together for eternity. Wherever you are on the spiritual spectrum, this is an intriguing and provocative thought.

So here's hoping those words in the song are prophetic. "Somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue, and the dreams you dare to dream, really do come true." I, for one, would give a lot to see my friends again, both animal and human. So hang in there, Sophie girl, Jack, Beau, Raven, Foxy, and all the others. I'm coming.

Kay is a longtime writer who lives in Wilsonville with her husband and other highly developed animals. Contact her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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