The End of the Rainbow

Jeanie Dingemanse

My husband found out he had cancer in 1975. It started out in his right wrist and by the time it was discovered, it had worn part of the bone away. When we took our first trip into New York to specialists, I had asked God to give us a "Rainbow" so that we would know He was with us all the way. (I thought I had "stacked the deck" because the skies that day were perfect for a rainbow. Anyway, I didn't see one that day.

Neil was hospitalized in N.Y. on three different occasions. I was doing a lot of traveling back and forth to our home in New Jersey. On one particular evening riding back home and feeling pretty sad... there was this truck along-side of me and when I sped up, so did he and when I slow down, same thing.. when I looked over at it, it said "Rainbow Landscaping". I can't tell you how it lifted my spirits. I realized then that my "rainbows" didn't have to be in the sky! I shared this with friends. Whenever they saw a rainbow, they would tell me. It seemed times I was down someone would tell me about a rainbow and it helped keep me going. One particular evening I was leaving work and there was the most incredible rainbow in the sky that lasted quite some time. I shared it with Neil and it gave him strength for all the tests, operations and chemotherapy treatments.

His avocation was sculpting.... and originally the doctors thought he would only live a year since it travelled fast. Well, after a year and since the cancer seemed located only in the arm, the arm was amputated. With chemotherapy he was cancer free for almost five years.

Then, it happened. It returned...this time the lungs. We had become Born-Again Christians. We, and our friends prayed extremely hard for the miracle of healing . Neil was more able to accept his circumstances than I was.. One day I convinced myself of just how God was going to miraculously heal him [even to the point of the arm growing back!]. He told me to "stop it, don't you realize you're holding up the process!" As he continued to deteriorate Neil kept the faith. One day as I was bathing him, he told me that he "really wanted to die". I told him once he was bathed, he'd feel much better. Within moments, he told me there was "three" of us in the room. When I asked him what he meant, he told me that he "thought it was Jesus" Then, he paused [as if he had confirmation] and said "yes, it's him". Shortly thereafter, he began breathing funny. I called his doctor and he told me to get him to the nearest hospital. I called the rescue squad...still expecting this miracle...By the time we got to the hospital [I followed the ambulance] Neil had an oxygen mask on, he winked at me, squeeze my hand. They took him upstairs and when I got up there after checking him in, he was in a coma. He succomed several hours later.

Not until "the end" did I realize what had happened. There is a verse in the Bible where Christ is preparing to ascend after the resurrection where he says to his Disciples..."I am going to prepare a place for you. So that where I am you may be also. And, if I go to prepare a place, I will come again and receive you unto myself". He didn't say he'd send angels, nor did he say, when you die, you'll find yourself in heaven. He said He would come and get us. This was the miracle!!! Neil wasn't afraid of dying, he knew he would go to heaven.... it was the "process" he wasn't sure about. I know that Christ was there to take him home!!!

Certainly there was grief and pain for me, but knowing he was "safe in heaven where there is no more pain or tears"...helped me continue.

The day Neil was buried was another "perfect" day for a rainbow and I mused about one and Neil saying goodbye till we meet again.... but, not to be.

A few days later I needed to return to something normal. When I got in the car and turned on the radio the DJ was talking about a phenomenon.. it caught my ear and they said there was a rainbow in the sky...two of the form of a cross!!

It's been almost 15 years...the rainbow still keeps me going...knowing I'm not alone. During the six years of Neil's illness there were many "wonderful things that happened to us and some special people we met along the way.

Jeanie Dingemanse

If you wish to write Jeanie you can find her at:[email protected]
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Crisis, Grief, and Healing: Tom Golden LCSW