Rainbows for Caitlin

I know that some of you were moved to pray for Caitlin and her family by my previous post. Now I would ask you to pray for her family, and if it seems appropriate, to weep for them and for the brokenness of this world and the pain of death. Caitlin passed away this past Sunday. I would encourage you to read her mom’s testimony here. But I know that many of you won’t click through, and so, to make it easy, I will copy and paste it here. And as I type, it is raining.

It is Florida’s dry season

There is a joke about Florida’s seasons. Florida has 2: a wet season and a dry season. The wet season runs from April-October, and the dry season runs from November-March. They are just that. It rains every day during the wet season and not at all during the dry season.

So imagine our surprise when God winked and threw us a couple rainbows and some rain in the last several days.

Sunday morning, as I woke next to Caitlin, on the make-shift bed we had relocated downstairs, I knew the day was going to be different. Although she begged for me to take her to church, I knew we would not get there and that she was failing us.

I will not weigh this post down with details and specifics, because death is not beautiful or glamorous as some have described it. I will tell you the beautiful part of this story however.

We held Caitlin in our arms, while family gathered around, and at 3:24 on Sunday afternoon Caitlin took one last breath and died.

We cried some more, and said goodbye. And then, as if God rolled out the carpet for her to travel to heaven, a rainbow appeared. That means, moments after each of her family members said goodbye it rained (for only a few minutes) AND produced a rainbow….in my heart I want to believe Caitlin took the hand of loved ones, and unafraid, she skipped up that rainbow and right into heaven with only one look back to wave and say, “It’s ok mama! I promise I’m not scared! I can skip again!”

Again, without details of the day, I will fast forward to several hours later. We let go of the shell that had once contained Caitlin’s incredible spirit. We kissed those uncharacteristeric chubby cheeks, and the no-longer crooked and droopy mouth, and we placed her body into the care of the funeral home.

As they drove away I started thru the house and out the back door to retrieve the other children from a friend’s house. As I got half way thru the backyard, the sky opened up, and it rained. I stood in the rain with a friend who was walking with me. Honestly, I think we were both paralyzed with shock. Turning our heads toward the sky in stunned silence, we put up our hands and shrugged our shoulders because words weren’t necessary. As our feet hit the back porch of our other friend’s house just a few yards away, the rain stopped.

We gathered children and sent them running thru the backyard for some dinner. Again as we reached the halfway mark in the joined backyards, it rained. It rained harder and harder until we reached the door of my back porch. It rained for 3 minutes and was done. Another wink? How can it be anything but a wink.

Then, finally, after a day of being surrounded by family and friends, and Jeff and I dealt with the tasks of funeral home and church service arrangements, we arrived home yesterday afternoon. We were greeted with a dozen excited and shouting adults and children. Apparently, while we were out “arranging”, at exactly 3:24, a rainbow, ever so faint and light, appeared in the backyard of our home.

God let Caitlin throw her own rainbow. She loved them so much. She thought they were beautiful. And in the last year, when everyone joined in and made it “hers” to own as a symbol of things so much bigger than she could ever know, she was thrilled.

So I’m going to believe, that God picked her up, and said, “Let’s send a message to mommy, daddy, and everyone left down on Earth crying for you. How could we let them know that you’re ok?” It wouldn’t take Caitlin long to reply, “Mama loves rainbows!” And with that, God held her hand, and together they threw a rainbow; a tiny, fading, almost invisible rainbow.

Rainbows and rain, during the “dry” season…..best.wink.yet.

with love from our broken hearts, d

2 thoughts on “Rainbows for Caitlin

  1. Such a wonderful tribute to Caitlin and the Downing family.
    A true testament of the capacity of the human heart, the Downing family, and the wonderful people in Oviedo,
    The outpouring of support restores, and supports our collective faith.
    Thanks Caitlin for the message, and the lesson.

    Now off you go Caitlin to be with the Angels and live in Gods house.


    The Wagner-Maselli Family
    Oviedo, Florida

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