Sunday, July 15, 2012

Perfect Rain

For as long as I can remember, I have liked rain.

It started raining as we left the hospital with Kol on the night that he died, and gradually became more intense.  Shortly after Kol died, we drove through heavy rain.  Kirk told me that when he was little, he thought rain was God's tears.  Maybe God was crying with us when Kol died; it's kind of a comforting thought.  The rain had stopped by the time we got home, but the ground was wet, and the air smelled fresh, like it does after the rain.  It's strange what details we remember from pivotal times in our lives.  It rained parts of the next day, and Tuesday evening we had what I think was the first thunderstorm of the season, complete with lightning and loud thunderclaps.  It rained on Wednesday as well.  The weather was warm for a couple of days, including the day of Kol's funeral, and then we had rain again for two days.

While some people were probably upset with the rain, I was pleased.  I needed that rain.  Well, I guess I didn't need it, but I like to think it helped me heal, or at least cope better with what was happening.  It matched my mood.  Some say rain is dreary - depressing.  While I think it can be so, especially after a long period of cold weather with unrelenting rain and darkly overcast skies, I've usually felt that rain is calming, comforting, relaxing.  I used to love standing outside, getting soaked on those warm summer afternoons when the warm, gentle rain comes suddenly.

Maybe the reason I like rain is the mysteriousness of it.  It's full of contradictions.  Rain is subtle, changing; it can be soft and gentle, yet it can be immensely powerful, damaging and dangerous.  We don't understand it.  Water drops are small, harmless, yet the chinese water torture is considered one of the most cruel kinds of torture there is.  In literature, rain is sometimes used to accentuate feelings of sadness, grief, loss and pain, or to amplify the difficulty of a task.  Sometimes rain symbolizes cleansing, renewal, and new growth - the beginning of something new.  I love thunderstorms, too, both the devastating power and awe inspiring beauty.  Storms symbolize anger, intensity, even danger, and yet they too are cleansing, refreshing, renewing.  Lightning signifies wrath, anger.  If you've read any Greek mythology (or Percy Jackson), you'll remember Zeus' masterbolt.  However, lightning nourishes the soil, causing new growth.

Now, when I look back at some of the more pivotal days in my life, I remember there was rain.  I was thrilled that Kirk and I drove through a heavy downpour on our way to Saskatoon for pictures on our wedding day.  There was rain the evening after Kol and I left the hospital when he was born.  I remember driving through rain on our way to see my dad the night before he died - we had celebrated Kolbjorn's 3rd birthday that day in Saskatoon.

One night, when Kol was little, we got caught in a particularly fierce storm on our way to Christopher Lake.  While we were pulled over to wait until visibility improved, I worried that the noise and lightning would scare the kids, so I talked about why I like storms.  Julianna, in her simple, 5 year old way, said that lightning was a good thing - that God made lightning in order to help people find their way home in the dark - the lightning was guiding the lost travelers home.

Right now, we're experiencing a storm of emotions: guilt and relief, guilt because of the relief, faith and fear, uncertainty and hope, joy and mourning, sadness, grief, loss and appreciation for what we have.

Maybe the storm we're experiencing is causing new growth in us.  Actually, I have no doubt that it is.  I just hate the pain that we have to go through in the process.  I don't like seeing our children or Kirk in pain.  There are times when we can laugh at a memory of Kol - his blender dance, his head bob, or his giggle.  I hope these are glimpses, glimmers of a time ahead when thinking of Kolbjorn won't be so bittersweet, flashes of light leading us home.


  1. You continue to move me with your beautiful writing. I think of you each morning. Love, Joanne

  2. Kristen, how beautifully expressed. I will experience rain in different ways in future. Thinking about Kol right now. Remembering. Also keeping you, Kirk and the girls in my thoughts and prayers. If there's ever anything you need... (Karen Kowalenko-Evjen)