The Rainbow of Grief

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Grief is not always ash gray or even midnight blue.

In the bereavement community, there is often talk about “rainbow babies” – babies born subsequently to loss.  And so much hoping and pining away for that future baby can become so pervasive and consuming that when the baby is born, there can be a moments dawning of

“I have been hoping for a person.  This person.  Not a feeling that this person would give me.”

And the weeks of sleep deprivation and dangerous levels of exhaustion are sprinkled with the comments from others reflecting the mother’s now too-far distant wishes of “at least you have your rainbow baby now.”

I want to propose something entirely radical to you today.

You are already a rainbow.

The vibrancy and beauty of the rainbow happens because each of the colors are experienced in their fullness and richness, without unnecessary intrusion from the other colors.  Their stark differences somehow seem to come together to bring a collective harmony, an orchestration of different octaves and hues that rings pleasing.

If you are new to your grief journey, the platitudes from others can seem an attempt to dump orange onto your blue, and you desperately push these attempts away with a cry “I don’t even want this blue at all, but your orange smeared into it is only making things messier, and uglier.”

Somehow, something deep in the rainbow of your very soul knows that somehow, for a time, blue is where you are needed to be.  For your own best healing and even dare I say, your own future happiness.

Then later, when you find yourself on a warm day, when the sun kisses your cheeks and the sweet wind chime of laughter is heard moving from your heart, somehow, you find you’ve moved into some kind of a beautifully light yellow of joy.

And the lies lurk as shadows.  “Maybe I am too happy.  Do I deserve to smile again?” And we try to dump the darkest of gray onto our softest yellow day.

And so, day by day, our lives look like a soggy empty place malformed by smooshy mud and weakened snow, a place that we cannot get a grip on because the smudging and smearing have gone on so far and so wide that we fear taking a step anymore for falling flat upon our faces in an ugly, distorted mess.  Again.

I want to encourage you today, to celebrate your rainbow of grief – your rainbow of healing.  Whatever color your day, your moment may be, it is yours.  It is valuable intrinsically; it doesn’t need to be dumped on or added to or stuffed into something else.

It is intrinsically valuable.  As are you.


This is one of my most favorite photos from our workshops, as we find courage and celebration in our colors and in our selves.  I so hope you consider being a part of Love Wildly, our upcoming retreat in December 2014.  It is going to be a gorgeous time of sharing, loving and healing, for all of us.


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