Out of the Rain and Into the Sunshine

December 13, 2009
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The streets were slick and wet from the early rain showers; people were finally emerging out of their houses, in the suburban neighborhood, to inhale the sweet after smell of rain. The clouds were still a stormy grey, so everyone knew the storm was not over yet but that they could enjoy the puddles and fresh scent for the moment.
When the storm returned, the people gathered their children and everyone scattered back to their houses. Run! The drops were falling, faster and harder than before. Mothers went to the kitchen to make the family hot chocolate and kids ran to sit on the windowsills to stare through the window at the oncoming storm. It was during this ominous weather that one family was ready to leave for the longest, most undesirable car ride to the family-trusted hospital.
The dad, still dressed in his everyday business suit, moodily drove along the highway in a heavy duty pick up truck with no concern of the weather, but with anxiety in his heart. The two year old infant, in the backseat, slowly drifted off to the soft consistent sound of the windshield wipers. Staring intently at the small television screen, connected to the drivers’ back seat, the five year old son was watching a movie and giggling with the careless freedom of youth. The mom of the family sat in the passenger seat; she gazed out the window at the oncoming raindrops and flashes of lights from other cars, going by with each turn of the car’s wheels.
It was just yesterday afternoon when the phone rang. The dad answered in a moderate tone. Hello. Okay I understand. The children stood next to him impatiently, expressing their innocent curiosity as to whom the voice on the other line belonged. Who is it dad? They sensed discomfort. Tell us. The two-year old, just beginning to talk, tugged on his shirt. The dad hung up the phone and sullenly walked into the other room to inform his wife of the news he had received from the hospital.
As visitors walked in through the sliding doors, a cold draft streamed out. The usual admittance entrance procedure was taken. From the assistant desk where she sat with comfort, a lady smiled at the strangers. Kids sit down while I talk to this nice lady. Scampering off with their small toys in hand, they obediently climbed onto the tall chairs. Excuse me, I’m looking for Edward, Marsha Edwards. Okay just a minute…ah yes Edwards room 304.
While waiting for the elevator to reach the third floor, the parents imagined their next sight, dreading the realism of the news they had heard the day before. A mom and her newborn baby were also waiting on the elevator. The new mother smiled optimistically at the precious life she had given birth to earlier that day, not noticing anyone else around her.
Ding! The family exited and walked toward the nurses’ station, where they were abruptly stopped. Mr. and Mrs. Edwards? Yes. Where is my mother? In the operation room, it will be another hour. Have a seat in the sitting room.
Waiting, for over an hour, the children’s mother grew antsy and took the children for a walk down to the cafeteria. The dad began to consider the possibilities of what might really be happening and his mind was filled with lingering questions: Is she going to be okay? What would I do with out her? How could this be happening to my mother? Will I ever see her again?
A doctor in a full length, white coat, wearing a stethoscope around his neck and carrying a clipboard filled with papers walked into the waiting room. Are you Mr. Edwards? With a sudden jerk, the dad turned his head and stood up. Yes.
Sir, we are very sorry- He looked down knowing something had happened, feeling nothing but emptiness in his heart at that very second. The doctors’ voice was rambling on in the background but the dad only heard his loud heart beat. The doctor finished his brief synopsis. Would you like to see her? Yeah. The sympathetic doctor led the way down the cold, empty hallway. The dad walked in, took one look, closed his eyes and started bawling.
The rain had stopped and the clouds cleared, leaving slippery streets, puddle filled sidewalks and the safe feeling for animals to make their way out into the light once again. Noticing change, people began walking out of the cold buildings that were beginning to smell like rain, out from the houses still warm from the now smoky fire place. The family slowly made their way back home in complete silence.
Two things that help people manage their sorrow are time and the empathy of other people grieving over similar losses. Time helps to heal the pain and the awareness brings people closer. When people come together the grief is shared which creates room to move forward into the sunshine.

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