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Reader shares her own ladybug story

April 7, 2019

A few weeks back I wrote about the little visits some have experienced, myself included, that seem otherworldly. Surreal. One was about an elderly mother who promised her daughters she’d try to send a sign from the other side in the form of a cardinal. Shortly after her funeral, the daughters experienced (and filmed) an amazing visit with a wild cardinal. I also mentioned the many odd ladybug experiences my daughter and I have had over the past 16 years.

This prompted Ashley Matney, of Chapmanville, to write and share her own story.

Ashley said her father had been gone for three years when, in February of 2018, her mother suffered a heart attack so severe she ended up in the ICU on a ventilator.

“As crazy as this may sound,” Ashley wrote, “I went to the graveyard (where her father was buried) in tears and started praying. I said, ‘Dad, if you can hear me, please help Mom.’”

Ashley was a regular at this cemetery, and she said no matter what time of year she would go there, she would nearly always encounter ladybugs. On occasion, some of those ladybugs will tag along, following her back to the car and keeping her company for hours before finally flying away.

When Ashley returned to the hospital, she found an unexpected visitor was waiting for her there.

“Inside my mother’s ICU room, crawling up her IV pole and onto her bed, was a ladybug,” wrote Ashley, who

snapped a few quick pictures of the bug before mentioning it to the nurse.

Who immediately began trying to kill it.

Ashley begged the nurse to leave it alone, but of course, that wasn’t allowed in a room as sterile as the unit requires. Instead, the nurse began trying to catch it in a napkin, but couldn’t. The stealthy little bug kept getting away, and then they lost it altogether.

“I still don’t know where it took off to, but it got away.”

And Ashley’s mother? Not long after the visit from the bug, she awakened and was removed from the vent.

“Mom had already known about all the ladybugs I would encounter at the graveyard prior to this,” Ashley said, so she told her about the bug’s visit “pretty much the moment she was awake again.”

Her mother has since recovered nicely from her heart attack.

“I am still in awe of it all,” Ashley said. “I love lady-bugs. They will stop me in my tracks when I see one.”

Back in the 1990s, my favorite uncle Edgar had a heart attack so severe it landed him on the transplant list. After he received his new heart, Uncle Ed began dreaming about bees and being visited by bees so much that he began asking questions. He learned his heart had come from a man who died after an allergic reaction from a bee sting. Bees continued to be appear to him for the rest of his life.

Years later, after Edgar passed from cancer, his widow Joanne began getting visits from bees. She’d see them everywhere and in places you’d never expect, much like Ashley Matney and I experience with the ladybugs. Joanne continued being visited by friendly bees — never once stung — for years, until her death on March 27. Which just happened to be the anniversary of her husband’s death.

For one of my best friends, Diane Tarantini, of Morgantown, her little visits come in the form of feathers, which she started to find almost immediately after the passing of our friend and writing buddy, Terry McNe-mar, of Bridgeport.

“Terry seems to have become the guardian angel of my writing, if not of my life,” wrote Diane. “For years, our friendship grew through texts, emails and attending local readings together. And of course, going to the group’s annual conference in Ripley.

Shortly after Terry’s death from cancer in August of 2015, Diane began finding feathers in odd places at pivotal times.

“It seemed to happen just as I needed to make some sort of writing-related decision,” wrote Diane. Just as she’d be wondering whether or not to attend a writing conference, a downy feather would appear at her feet. If she was agonizing over something like whether to shift the point of view? in a story, a bluejay feather would appear on her kitchen counter.

The very kinds of questions she would’ve taken to Terry, he still managed to answer.

They might be gone, but they aren’t forgotten. And clearly, neither are we.

Karin Fuller can be reached via email at karinfuller@gmail.com.

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