A month has passed since the death of my mother and having now lost our second parent, my three sisters and I are feeling the need to form a different circle together. Mom held a powerful energy her whole life that somehow structured a protective moat around each of us, as well as aimed our individual purposes forward like an arrow from the bow to the target. We never quite knew how she did it, but we were all very aware of its force.
As we grieve, the power of our relationships together not only eases the loss, it provides a conduit for a reflective, healing time in which to share our process and learn from each other where our fears lie. We support each other in taking steps to overcome them so that we can move forward with greater clarity and passion. In the six months before Mom died, we had ladybugs begin to enter our lives. It started with one of Mom’s private caregivers bringing a set of three ladybug magnets to my home and placing them in the kitchen attached to a wall. Not long after, my Mom started telling me about three ladybugs that were up on the ceiling of her room and asked me if I could see them. Not sure how to reply, as Mom had been completely blind for the past four months, I said, “Yes Mom, I see them. Quite a little family aren’t they.” They seemed to be giving her such great comfort I thought I would just go along with it. Not to mention, she looked up at the ceiling so intently I really came to believe she actually did see them. We all began becoming friends with the ladybugs: daughters, son-in-laws, grandchildren and caregivers, asking her daily if they were there. The few days before Mom died and since, many of us have had real ladybugs landing on our clothes and showing up in strange places, staying with us for awhile and then disappearing. I wrote a poem for Mom’s funeral that demanded a rewrite to include a reference to the ladybugs in the last verse.
My sister finally decided last week to look up the meaning of ladybugs and to her surprise found out some wonderful insight into this animal totem that others have also experienced with a mother’s death. Well, who knew! I share this because, I know that as you experience the separation of a cherished loved one by death, the wonder of coming to understand that we are not just physical bodies is available for you to grasp more easily. It happened for me when my father died and again as Mom has physically left us, but not spiritually. Your tender emotions at this time open a door to experiences you might otherwise not allow to enter into your life. Participating in this precious time fully, even though it is difficult, allows you to receive this gift if you are a little bit willing.
The ladybug is a member of the beetle family. Their life cycle requires about four weeks, so several generations are produced over the summer and fall seasons. This cycle ties the ladybug to the energies of renewal and regeneration. Those who have this totem are usually family oriented with strong morals and social values. 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.” It holds a link to mothers. Because the life cycle of the adult ladybug is so short, it teaches us how to release worries and enjoy our lives to the fullest. When it appears in our life, it is telling us to “let go and let God.” This is quite amazing, as I had felt many times over the year that Mom lived with us that this was the learning available to me for making the sudden decision to bring her to our home. Unlike other beetles, the ladybug brings a feeling of joy to us. Its small size signifies a delicate and loving nature. It portrays the energy of harmlessness and can show us how to stop self harm. 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.
Knowing the blessing of being able to share my life journey with my sisters, I want to create a circle for others that may find this type of support helpful. I will facilitate a two day weekend workshop in January called the Journey to Self Through Relationships. For more information go to Resources – Seminars on this site.