gifts from above

I am not super religious, but I like to think of myself as a spiritual person. I’ve experienced the loss of many loved ones in my life and it makes me feel good to think that they are still watching and connecting with me in some way.

Last Saturday my baby brother graduated from college. This was a huge event for my entire family. Our hearts swelled with love as we watched him participate in his commencement ceremony. In so many ways, this ceremony symbolized the closing of one of the most important chapters in his life. He is the last of three of us to graduate college and my family couldn’t be prouder.

The day before my brother’s graduation, my parents took this picture in front of my sister’s house. I believe that this dazzling prism in the sky was a gift from my grandma. It’s her little way of saying that she’s here, witnessing all that is happening and celebrating this time with us.


It was January and I was working on my final year of college. I had been invited to attend my cousin’s wedding in Southern California. I couldn’t wait to go. I was looking forward to spending time with my family at what I imagined would be a beautiful event. But I was also longing to be at my grandma’s side. She was sick. Really sick. She was in the hospital, which meant that she wouldn’t be going to the wedding with the rest of us.

The wedding really was beautiful, just as I thought it would be. We had a great time chatting, dancing, and celebrating life. It felt like we were escaping the reality of my grandma’s situation, if only for a moment.

My mom wasn’t at the wedding. She stayed with my grandma. I know it was because she wanted to spend every last minute that she could with her. Who could blame her? I would have done the same.

The time came for me to catch a plane back home. I was dreading this trip back for so many reasons, but I couldn’t stay any longer. My grandma’s condition was worsening. Her breathing was more labored. She seemed to be in and out of consciousness.

And I was in denial. “It’s just the meds,” I repeated to myself. Anything to keep the thoughts of death out of my head.

I tried to put on my best game face as I said good-bye to her, praying and hoping that it wouldn’t be the last time. She’s going to get through this…right? I left her hospital room for the final time.

On the flight home I witnessed a truly ethereal sight. Framed by these amazingly big, puffy white clouds, a rainbow appeared. It’s hard to explain how I felt in that second. I suddenly felt warm inside. I felt like someone was there with me. The experience took my breath away. Though I tumbled through a whirlwind of emotions over the weekend, in that moment I was at peace.

It wasn’t until I was home that I found out my grandma had passed.


It has been 12 years since my grandma’s passing. Every time I see a rainbow, I think of her. Even though I can’t see, feel, or hear her, I know that she is all around – watching, supporting, celebrating, and loving us still.


~ by hpiazza on 05/30/2011.

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