Somewhere along the Rainbow

ROH_150x150Somewhere along the rainbow, I looked and began to see colors blending into one another. Clearly there were unique, vibrant colors, yet somehow they blended so perfectly into new ones. I am always moved by seeing that the people we meet in hospice have a common thread, just that little something, like growing up on a farm, moving from another location, or sharing a relationship to someone special. Somewhere along the rainbow, I realized the ups and downs were filled with color.  Just when you think you have a handle on things, someone reminds you that a rainbow is a smile upside down. My first hospice visit was October 31. I was dressed as Snow White when the call came to visit a 44 year old woman with lung cancer who was in pain and waiting for a nurse. How could it be that she had taken dance as a child and that I had just sold my dance studio and missed dancing?  I danced for her; as she called out the steps, I performed them. I didn’t know then that her pain was complicated by her son’s struggle with acceptance of her terminal condition. That encounter, that dance, allowed her son to see her smile one last time. Somewhere along the rainbow, I learned that every life has a story, a special patchwork of ordinary and special moments, unique dreams and hopes, and that we need to share that story. The Rainbow of Hope Quilt Auction has colored our hospice story for five years. Our community has embraced an idea born at a local fabric shop filled with do-ers, artists, and writers.  Quilters choose colors and fabric to create works of art disguised as quilt projects. The colors chosen often represent a particular life limiting diagnosis. Each piece is filled with love and tells a particular hospice story. Some of the quilters are comfortable sharing their stories and all find comfort in having done something to honor and remember. Last year, we had three “firsts”. We had our first entry from the husband of a quilter. How could he just stand by as she crafted her quilt? He wrapped himself around her by building a beautiful quilt case for the auction. We had our first quilt done in memory of a beloved dog, a special companion to someone on her journey along the rainbow. We had our first quilt made in honor of a gentleman in another hospice several hours away. His wife had hopes of wrapping him lovingly in that special quilt and had a proxy bid for her at the auction. When the bidding went higher than she could afford – $ 1000- a sad silence fell over the crowd. The silence turned to tears when the high bidder took the phone from the proxy and told the wife the quilt was hers. Somewhere along the rainbow I am reminded that there is so much good along the way, each and every day. Our special quilt story continued with its delivery by our chaplain and music therapist, who made the two and a half hour trip on their day off. The patient had been unresponsive for two days – but not this day. He had such a meaningful day, one of joy, fellowship and praise. When he was presented with his quilt, everyone present knew that it, and they, were where they were meant to be. Somewhere along the rainbow we see the colors of hope.  Somewhere along the rainbow we are the colors of hope.