Mom and the Ladybugs

by Caroline von Fluegge-Chen

Mom and the Ladybugs

This piece was written in 2007. Yet ladybugs keep on showing up.

Last Friday I had to put down Scrappy, my beloved dog and best buddy for 12 years. My German grandmother had a fascination with the VW bug cars. Every time she spotted one, she would shout with joy, “Kaefer” which means bug/ ladybug in German.  Six years ago in September, my mom was diagnosed with lymphoma that had spread to her liver.  Six weeks later, shortly before Thanksgiving, she passed away. Ironically, the same disease claimed Scrappy’s life as well. When I called my mom’s friends to let them know what happened, a ladybug landed on her address book.  That evening,  one of the staff at the hotel gave me a little goodie bag filled with chocolates in the shape of a ladybug.

When my sisters and I think deeply about my mom, a ladybug always seems to show up. When I was adjusting a difficult patient last year, I asked myself, “What would mom have said to this person?” As I looked down, I saw a tiny round sticker of a ladybug stuck in between the slats of the adjusting table.  Mom was around!  After last Friday’s ordeal, I realized I had not eaten all day and I was hungry. I went to my local Thai place to get some soup. Back in the car, I felt something land on my hand. In the dusk, it looked like a round bug. I turned on the light and what did I see? A ladybug.  I think mom was telling me everything was ok and that the Scrapster had arrived safely with her.  Maybe she was going to take him on a hike and then give him unlimited belly rubs up there in heaven.

PS: December 2008: The day before I was to make my first “real” appearance on television, I was roaming around the mall desperate to find something to wear for my few minutes of fame. I was super thirsty so I stopped off at the food court. Sbarro Pizza, to be specific. I got a coke and sat down at a table nearby. What did I find on the table? A 3D folded paper ladybug – sort of like a 3D paper doll type thing – roughly the size of my hand. It was in perfect condition without any sort of promotional corporate logo stamped on it whatsoever. I felt a bit guilty as I snagged it off the table and gently put it in my purse. That ladybug was meant to be mine. It was mom telling me, “Good luck on TV tomorrow!”