When I was a young girl I was always scared for the sun to set. I would ask my mother if there was a way for us to freeze the colors of the sunset until morning when then the sun could raise high in the sky again. My mother would laugh at me and tell me, “No, Moonbow there’s no way we can stop nature.”
One night after my mother had tucked me in and read our nightly story I asked her what “moonbow” was and why she always called me that. She smiled and began singing in her sweet voice “One day you will see my little moonbow. One day you will never want the night to end.” At the end of the song she would peek out the blinds to gaze into the night sky. “Tonight, is not the night maybe tomorrow.” She would kiss my head and turn off the light in my room as she left.
Time continued moving forward and before I knew it I was a teenager who hated my mother calling me “Moonbow.” I thought it was silly and childish and I made sure she knew I didn’t appreciate her calling me that and I would hiss at how stupid the name was. She would pay no mind to me as I would stomp off to my room calling after me, “One day you will see.”
The world spun days and nights going in what seemed to be a blink of an eye. I was in college when I got the call telling me my mother was sick. She told me I should stay and do my studies she would be fine. I almost believed her until I heard the word terminal.
The only things I took with me were what I could carry in a tiny cardboard box as I ran to my car. It took 5 hours to get home. When I arrived, I busted through the front door and ran to my mother wrapping her in my arms. Tears streaming down my face I sobbed into her shoulder as she held me tight. “It’s okay my moonbow.” She whispered.
Days were now filled with me and my mother. I would take her anywhere she wanted to go bookstores, shopping, coffee houses and movies. As time ticketed by my mother grew weaker wanting to do less and less. Our fun days out turned into days inside playing cards, watching tv and chatting. Then slowly it became me going to my mother’s room to read to her or just chat. She hardly got out of bed these days. Her frail body growing weaker and more tired. The day she refused to eat I spent the night in her room with her falling asleep in her big, red arm chair that sat next to her bed.
I was awakened by her tapping my arm, which was dangled over the arm rest and a soft whisper of her nickname for me, “Moonbow.” I opened my eyes and sat up quickly, “What’s wrong Ma?” I asked fear swelling into my throat. “Open the window.” She said wearier as she pointed to the huge windows in front of her bed. I looked at her quizzically and she just waved her hand for me to do so. I sighed and pulled the blinds back relieving the most beautiful night sky I’d ever seen.
The moon was huge in the sky, closer than I had ever seen before, I felt I could reach out and pluck it from the sky. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, letting the stars glisten crystal clear. What caught me off guard was the beautiful rainbow that danced across the sky. My mouth dropped over at seeing the vibrant colors against the dark sky.
“Moonbow.” My mother called from behind me. I turned and looked at her as tears filled her eyes. She motioned for me to sit next to come back to her. I quickly made my way back to the arm chair and she kissed my forehead softly. “I always told you there was no reason to fear the night.” She pointed to the rainbow in the night sky, “You are the moonbow, the vibrant colors that make you up bring light to this world even in dark times.” I left the blinds open that night so my mother and I could stare at this rare and beautiful site until we fell asleep.
My mother passed away peacefully in her sleep later that night. I am glad to have had that moment with her. I now understand why she called me Moonbow for all those years even when I whined and threw a fit. I am proud of my nickname now and will wear it proudly for my mother and her beautiful last night in this world.