Have you ever prayed for a sign from God when times got tough? On Tuesday, August 13, 2013 I was at the Cape navigating the early stages of mom’s cancer diagnosis and praying for anything that would indicate God was aware of our difficult plight. On this particular morning, mom told me that a single ladybug had appeared in her bathroom for the fourth morning in a row. I didn’t think much about it at the time. Later that day I was texting my cousin Bonnie (mom’s Godchild) and told her about the ladybug phenomenon. Being a spiritual person, Bonnie knew there was something more to this than meets the eye.
Bonnie wrote “I’ve been thinking about the ladybug all day and look what I came across, your Mom has always been the most loving person–the beetle of our Lady really rings true–after reading this I really believe that it was there for Joanie.”
- When the ladybug appears in our life it is telling us to “let go and let God.” Seen often as a messenger of promise, the ladybug reconnects us with the joy of living. Fear and joy cannot co-exist. We need to release our fears and return to love – this is one of the messages that the ladybug brings to us. The ladybug teaches us how to restore our trust and faith in the great spirit. When the ladybug appears, it is telling us to get out of our own way and allow the great spirit to enter into our lives. The name ladybug finds its origins in the middle ages when this beetle was dedicated to the Virgin Mary and called the “beetle of our lady.”
When I shared Bonnie’s words with mom, she was overjoyed. We both knew that the great spirit was God and the little ladybug who had been hanging around her bathroom mirror was His outward reminder that all would be well – we were being called to trust in Him.
Over the next 3 years, the ladybug would appear in mom’s life often, especially at particularly difficult times – after brain radiation, chemo and changes in meds. Her appearance always gave mom strength, the boost she needed to turn her eyes heavenward and trust in God’s plan. Looking back, I am confident that God was holding mom’s hand during her entire cancer journey and His unconditional love for her was being affirmed through this little creature who is dedicated to the Blessed Mother. How fitting for a woman who loved without boundaries with a devotion to our Blessed Mother Mary, as deep and wide as the oceans.
A few days ago, some family members were praying over mom at the Hospice Center. As you can imagine, mom’s decline has not come as a surprise, but it has been extremely heart breaking for all who know and love her. During this prayer service, my brother Joe looked up and behold, there on the cavernous ceiling was a tiny ladybug. He nudged mom’s sister Sue and together they smiled, knowing that it was probably mom who had orchestrated this visit. She was perhaps asking God to assure all of us of her love and tell us to trust, have faith and know that all will be well. We received her message with gratitude and finished praying through tearful eyes.
Laying on my cot in her room at the Hospice center last evening, I listened to mom’s breathing in the quiet of the night. My mind kept wandering back to the days when her wide smile and generous heart would light up a room. I realized that despite her ability to talk or sit up, she is still lighting up a room. Her love for others is so deep and so genuine that is pours forth from her very being. I am not sure that I will ever have the privilege to know anyone like her again, but I do know that heaven is blessed because it will soon be gaining a beautiful saint. I wonder if there are ladybugs in heaven?