I’ve wanted to write for a while now about ladybirds. To me, the little creatures signify my beloved, deceased Grab and I imagine that when I see one, she is popping back to say hello. This idea has elicited many an eye roll from acquaintances but I think that if, during times of bereavement, you can gain comfort from little things then you should go ahead. It all started when I saw one trundling along the pew in front of me at her funeral. My Gran’s garden was rife with ladybirds during the summer, so much so that I remember my cousins and I fashioning a kind of ladybird hotel out of stuff we found in our grandad’s pitting shed once.
From the funeral onward, I seemed to see ladybirds in odd paces: perched on an ashtray outside a pub on a rainy, November evening; in my bathroom in the dead of winter when I hadn’t had any windows open to allow them access and when the hell do you see a ladybird in the winter anyway? The best encounter though was on our wedding day the year after she died. As I basked in the sunshine of the courtyard after the ceremony, I happened to look down a saw a little ladybird on the bodice of my dress, the deep red stark against the white fabric. And it gave me a great deal of hope that she was , in fact, there with me that day. My grandad had lent me her wedding ring which had been sewn into the inside of my dress with blue thread and hence become my something old, borrowed and blue.
It might seem like mumbo-jumbo to some but in times of sadness, we need something to cling onto to make us remember the happy times. My gran lived until she was eighty-nine and led a pretty charmed life but still when you know you’ll never see someone again, especially on pertinent days such as a wedding, a flying visit can make all the difference sometimes.