After the Storm

1979
 
Thunderstorms have been a recurring theme in major events in my life, including the day I was born, so I knew waking up to stormy skies on December 22, 1997 was more than a random occurrence of nature. After 19 years of unconditional love and companionship, this was the day my beloved cat Libbey was scheduled to be cremated. She had been my foundation. My best friend. Every decision I made in life had involved her well being.

1997
  
Thunder. Lightening. The chaotic Arizona winter sky split open like a broken pinata, spilling its contents over the desert valley floor.
    
I was numb, but choosing to witness her individual cremation is what began the process of healing I so desperately needed. Not everyone would make that choice, but it was important for me to experience every last detail of her death. As I left the building, Libbey's cremains were still warm in my hands. I walked slowly to the car, and it was then that I noticed it had finally stopped raining. 

About a mile from home, the sun peeked through the clouds and a beautiful full rainbow emerged. It was at that moment that I was no longer able to hold back the tears. This difficult journey was coming to an end but, more incredibly, time stood still as I rounded the corner to witness this bright and stunning palette at the end of the cul-de-sac. I was in awe, and rainbows would forever hold new meaning.


Long before digital cameras were commonplace, I was grateful for film in my camera. I captured that moment and would do so again two days later on Christmas Eve, when another rainbow appeared in the identical spot it had that day. I looked up into the sky, and gently whispered "Merry Christmas, Libbey, I will always love you."

After spending more than half my life with Libbey when she died, it was a loving yet painful goodbye I will never forget. The first real loss I had ever experienced, it would bring tremendous change to my life and begin my journey as an artist. For the next seven years, I recorded every rainbow I saw. Although I no longer keep track, every rainbow I see continues to hold importance. For me, they represent a sign that I am loved and that things will be okay... a message from the universe that I'm not alone and that Libbey's energy will always be part of me which is why, whenever I see a rainbow, I smile and tell my sweet girl hello.

If you've ever loved and lost someone you loved, or have felt overwhelmed by the lessons life has presented, you no doubt understand where I am coming from. Whether you find hope and messages in the stars, the rain, dancing butterflies, or elsewhere... may you always be reminded that love begins within you, and it is that same vibration that will carry you through loss.
I still have the stuffed cat she's holding. ❤

Libbey Lion Keaton
12/1978 - 12/20/1997

Libbey was such a meaningful part of my life, I wrote a short story that shares how she came into my life in 1978 when I was 10 years old. If you'd like to purchase an electronic version of Loving Libbey - The Greatest Day, it's available for just $1.29 via Amazon Kindle as well as in PDF format via Paypal.
 
Kindle Edition via Amazon
PDF via Paypal