My baby brother died on AIDS in 1995. My mother succumbed to cancer in 1996. I mourned their passing with a circumnavigation of the globe. Every holy site on the route was my destination; Luang Prabang, Zhongdian, Lhasa, Benares et al. My soul was washed by the waters of the holiest rivers in the world, my feet circled the well-worn path of pilgrims, and monks burned incense throughout Asia for my dearly departed. My spiritual voyage ended at the statue of St. Brigid in NY’s St. Patrick Cathedral. It was January. As a non-believer I worshiped her as a pagan saint. A dollar bought a candle and my prayer was silent.
I took the Lexington subway to Astor Place. I emerged from the station into bright sunshine. The air was frigid. I pulled up my collar and noticed a NYU co-ed looking at the sky.
I joined her gaze. High above floated a double rainbow created by the sun piercing high-altitude moisture. I had never seen a rainbow in winter. I recognized the miracle as my mother and my brother.
They are with me forever as I am with them.