AP NEWS

Ladybug’s surprise visit like a big hug

March 24, 2019

A former co-worker forwarded a link to the story because she knows how much I love birds, especially cardinals, but the story hit home in a different way.

The story she sent was from Southern Living, although I believe it appeared in different forms all over the net. It was about a Charles City, Virginia, matriarch named Dorothy Booth, who died in January at the age of 97.

In the article, Booth’s daughters, Debbie and Jeanne, said their mother used to joke about sending them a sign from heaven after she died.

Wanting to know they’d be able to recognize her sign, they asked her to make that sign a cardinal, the matriarch’s favorite bird.

“I’ll see what I can do,” Booth had said.

Just one day after her memorial service, the family was gathered together to play canasta, Dorothy’s favorite card game, when they heard a sound at the kitchen window.

It was a cardinal.

The bird was calmly sitting on the ledge, appearing alert and totally fine. A family member went outside and approached the bird and was surprised when it allowed itself to be picked up and carried into the house. Where I imagine — if their family was anything like mine — about a thousand pictures were soon taken.

A short time later, Booth’s daughters, Debbie and Jeanne, decided the bird should be taken back outside and set free, but the bird wasn’t quite ready to go.

In a video that accompanied the article, you can see the sisters attempting to release the bird, which was perched on one woman’s hand. She raised her hand and then dropped it, so the bird would fly off. Instead, it flew back on her shoulder and clung there.

The bird was clearly intent on staying. It was able to fly and could’ve easily left. It just chose not to.

After Patterson shared the video on Facebook, it received over 12 million views in just two weeks.

To be so freshly grieving and have such a definitive confirmation that their mother was still with them must’ve been a tremendous comfort.

There have been many times in my own life when I’ve had my own little reassurances, with mine coming

in the form of ladybugs. For 16 years now, I’ve had what I’ve come to call “bug hugs” because that’s truly how they feel.

Last winter, I’d started a long-term contract position in midtown Atlanta and was feeling a bit overwhelmed. Small-town girl in the city, surrounded on all sides by strangers and unfamiliar situations. This one day was particularly difficult, and as I sat at my desk, 26 floors up, I noticed something moving on the outside of the glass. Birds seldom even flew up that high, and it was cold, spitting snow. Yet there was a tiny ladybug directly across from my desk. Just when I needed her most.

My daughter has the same sort of encounters with lady-bugs. They appear when she’s sad or stressed. It doesn’t matter if it’s the dead of winter and a snowstorm is raging or if she’s in a sterile environment, a ladybug will appear from thin air and land.

Not two minutes ago, Don remarked, “Check this out. There’s a ladybug on your glass.” He tipped the glass up to show me, completely unaware what I was writing about.

It’s hard to explain how a visit from a bug can feel so completely wonderful without sounding a bit like a lunatic, but it’s like getting a hug from an angel.

And I expect Booth’s daughters, Debbie and Jeanne, would understand.

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