I have been wanting to put the following account into words for 10 years now, but was never able to. I have been asked by several to write the story for GUIDEPOST magazine, or some other Christian periodical, but have put it off. Due to the many requests to write the following true story, I am doing so now. It is a story of hope, and of God's Love. I do not want you to think of it as a sad story, but one where God showed me, in such a beautiful way, that He loves me. This story is dedicated to my daughter who has gone Over The Rainbow--Patricia Jane Harmon-O'Leary, Born-November 17, 1962, Died-December 6, 1987
If this story has been a blessing to you, please write to me, Barbara, at firstname.lastname@example.org Thank you.
Patti, as we called her, was my oldest daughter. From the time she was very young I noticed something very special about her. Her eyes twinkled when she was happy or saw something she loved. Patti loved rainbows. Everytime she would see a rainbow, her eyes would literally glitter as she would gaze at them with her face all aglow. She would never want them to fade away. You see, she thought that they were made just for her. I don't know exactly how many times I would be summoned outside to see the latest rainbow that was putting on a special show just for her.
Her love for rainbows was very evident in her wedding that took place a year and a half before she died. At her shower, her cake had a rainbow of frosting on it. Her wedding colors were the colors of the rainbow and all of her attendants wore the different colors. The flowers in her bouquet were the rainbow colors. Everyone carried rainbow colored flowers. Her corsage for her going away, was rainbow colors, and she wore a blouse of rainbow stripes. Her wedding invitation even had a picture of the rainbow on front.
Patricia Jane Harmon,LPN
All through grammar school and high school she had expressed a desire to be a nurse, like her mom. After finishing high school, she applied at the local community college for the nursing program, but she had to postpone her studies due to undergoing chemotherapy and radiation for Hodgkins Lymphoma. She was diagnosed shortly after graduation. Amidst her treatments, she still managed to finish and graduate with her RN six months before she died. Many thanks go to a very understanding group of teachers and instructors that would work with her and allow her to make up time lost. She graduated with her LPN first, then took a couple of years off for treatment before finishing her RN. One of her teachers even came to the Intensive Care Unit to work with her studies, when she was having some complications with her heart, attributed to the radiation that she had taken several years earlier when she first became ill.
Patricia Jane Harmon-O'Leary, RN
Graduating from nursing school was very special to her and her patients loved her. She worked with children who had emotional problems. Many of them were victims of abuse. Many of them just needed someone to show them that they cared, and she cared. She called them "My kids", since she knew she would never have any of her own. She knew that she was living on borrowed time.
Patti's birthday, her 25th, was just before she left to go to San Francisco to have the bone marrow transplant. The family gave her a birthday party at her home. She truly enjoyed the party. She loved opening the gifts. Only the family was there. That is the way she wanted it.
She knew that her chances for a cure were not very good, but she was willing to try, "just one more time." She had been a chemotherapy failure. She had fought the battle for six years and never really enjoyed a remission even for a short period. Her hair would just have time to grow back and she was have to go through it again.
I was in San Francisco with her when they started the chemotherapy as the first phase of the treatment before the transplant. The plan was that after the drugs did their work and destroyed her own bone marrow, then they would give her back fresh bone marrow to replace hers. They told me that I should not expect any major complications for about a week and that it was fairly safe for me to go back home to Nevada and return in a few days.
I had been scheduled to start giving some of my platelets in a few days as part of her treatment. We had everyone scheduled at certain intervals to go to San Francisco and donate so they would be fresh. I returned to Nevada as planned, and knew that her second dose of chemotherapy was scheduled for 8PM. I called her right at 8:00 PM and the nurse was in her room hanging the medication. The first dose was given before I left her.
I told her how much I loved her, and suggested she think about all the wonderful things she was going to be able to do when she felt better. She had to cut the conversation short for the medicine had started to work and she was getting nauseated. "I have to go, I'm getting sick!"
"I love you!"
"I love you, too, 'gotta go!"
These were the last words I ever heard from her. Right after that, she went into cardiac failure due to the toxicity of the drugs and the weakness of her heart muscle from the previous radiation. Efforts to correct the problem failed. Her husband called us and informed us that she was in a very grave condition and we should come down. We left immediately for the three hour drive to San Francisco. She went into cardiac arrest shortly afterward. Resuscitation was impossible. She died before we could get there.
My being in nursing for so many years, I knew in my heart what the outcome would be, even though no one had told me so. I drove the way down knowing that my daughter was probably already gone. Tears were running down my face so much that I couldn't see the road, but looking through the tears, a few yards in the distance in front of me, I saw Pattie standing with Jesus standing by her side. He had His arm around her. She had on a beautiful long white dress, she was smiling, and she was COMPLETELY WHOLE.
The rain was coming down in torrents so that the road was barely visible, but I just kept driving toward her. I couldn't see where I was going. Then I felt someone slip underneath my body, so that I was sitting in their lap, in the drivers seat. The arms went around my shoulders. from behind me, on both sides and the hands were placed on top of my hands and held them to the wheel. I never saw who it was, but I felt the warmth beneath me and behind my back, around my arms and on top of my hands.
In seemingly a short time, we arrived in Sacramento. I stopped at a service station and called dear friends of ours. Holly informed me, even though she didn't want to, that Patti's husband, Patrick, had called them and told them that Pattie had died about the same time that I saw the vision of Patti. Holly's husband, Charlie, was already in San Francisco with Patrick, and he asked that we meet him in Sacramento.
The next morning, we all headed back to Nevada together. As we came over the mountains into Nevada, we witnessed the most beautiful RAINBOW that went completey over the road and touched the ground on both sides of the highway. It formed a magnificent archway. I thought of all the times that Patti and I had enjoyed rainbows together, of her wedding, the cake, and the colors. This was Sunday morning. I had called my older children and informed them of the news. My second son, Ray, and his wife, Lesle, were looking out of the window at the rain that was showering down on Nevada. Lesle, his wife (Patti's best friend and her maid of honor), asked "Why does it have to rain on the day Patti died?" Her husband, Ray, answered "Because, you can't have a rainbow without the rain, and you know Patti loved rainbows."
The next day, Monday, I had to go to Patti's home to help Patrick with some things that needed to be done. On my journey from home to where Pattie and her husband lived, was forty miles. I could feel my strength fading, I was crying uncontrollably, and I prayed, "Dear Lord, I don't think I am going to make it through this, please give me something to hang on to. Give me something to let me know she is there with you." I remembered the scripture, "I will never leave you or forsake you."
That Thursday, was Patti's funeral. It had been showering off and on through the week, but although the rain had stopped that early morning, there was still a lot of moisture in the air. I made it through the funeral service, completely numb. But at the graveside, I felt as though my chest had an elephant on it, and I didn't think I would survive the burial. The minister was reading a poem that my youngest daughter, Mary Beth, had written for her sister. They were so very close, she was also her flower girl at her wedding. People were gathered around, so very many people were there. Patti had touched so many lives. Then I looked up to see a "light show" of the most magnificent colors in the sky. Rainbows, everywhere, in every direction. As soon as one would fade, another would spring up. Big ones, small ones, long ones, short ones. The minister was interrupted over and over again, by everyone remarking about the rainbows. "Look, there's another one!", "Over there, there's another!" "Wow, look at that one, isn't it beautiful?" This went on, and on. The minister finally stopped and said, "I think I have been replaced, someone is trying to tell us something."
There is no way, I could tell you exactly how many there were that day, I stopped counting at fourteen.
My tears of sorrow were quickly replaced by tears of joy. God had given me what I had asked for. I said, "Lord, is this for me? Would you do this for me?" I then heard, just as clear as day, "Yes, I did this for you, I did it for Noah didn't I?"
One year passed by. Patti had packed up all the things that she wanted to give people and placed them in boxes with their names on them before she left for San Francisco. She had a box labeled with my name on it. I had not been able to open it, as yet. My older children brought me the box, on the anniversary of her death, and said, "Mom, I think it is time for you to open this." I knew it would be pictures, for she had asked me what I wanted. And I had told her, "Memories." I opened the box, and in it was a picture album. I took the album out of the box, ever so gently, and after placing it carefully in my lap, I opened the front cover. There, right before my eyes, was a crayon drawing of a rainbow, placed there by my precious daughter for me.
Skeptics may say that all of this was coincidental, but I don't anymore believe in coincidence than I do in luck. I believe that God has control of everything that happens to us. I believe that everything must sift through His hands before it is passed on to us. Just as much as I believe that God gave the rainbow to Noah, I believe He gave them to me.
Last year, I wrote a song that we hope to put on our next project. It tells about the RAINBOWS.
Look up in the sky at the rainbow
All the colors, the red, blue, and green
He allows us to take a glimpse at the beauty
Of His Mercy, so gloriously seen
Only God could make the rainbow
For it tells us of love and faith
That is why He gave it as a promise
A symbol of His Marvelous Grace
My child with eyes full of wonder
Gazed upward with face all aglow
"Tell me mommy, where do rainbows come from?
Tell me, I just gotta know."
Then I told her the story of Noah
How on the dark waters he did ride
All through the long and lonely hours
He knew God was standing by
I told her how God sent the rainbow
To show him that He was still there
Even tho' the time had been lonely
His presence was ever near
There is never a night dark and lonely
Never a valley that we must go through
That He is not always there beside us
To prove that His Promise is true
As I watched that still child at her graveside
All colors took place in the sky
I could hear that small voice so clearly
And I stood there not knowing why
He had chosen to bless me with this beauty
From His Glory, in this special way
Then I remembered, Only God could make rainbows
And He gave them to me, on that day
So when the stormy nights come
And you feel so all alone
And sunlight no more can you see
Look up, God's Love will shine
Through your many teardrops
And amaze you with His Majesty
by-Barbara J. Harmon-Tubbs
April 5, 1997
BACK TO TOP