The ladybug arrives on my writing pad, right next to the word ‘Dad’. The first visible, live sign I’ve had in eight years that he’s still with me. I take a picture of it sitting there. I can’t believe it. Then another one lands and here they are, both as clear as the words ‘Mum and Dad’ on the page. I have to capture it so that I can look at them forever, to prove these signs that are so sure in my heart, almost as if they are standing right next to me.
One flies away, and I regret not saying goodbye and ‘I know it’s you. Thank you.’ I tell the other one who seems so content now in the crook between my thumb and index finger that she (?) seems to have fallen asleep. I think now that the first one was Mum and that this is Dad. Mum, so matter of fact and purposeful that she did her duty and dropped by to see me, then set off on her next task. But Dad, sticking around, not willing to leave me yet any more than I am willing to let him go.

I wonder what I will do when I must go, because my heart won’t let me shoo him away. He’s here with me, wanting one more coffee chat, one more bacon breakfast, one more shopping excursion where he can predictably and oh so sweetly slide his bank card across the glass counter to the cashier and tell her he’s paying. I can’t let them go. I won’t. I haven’t been able to free myself from their protection, their love. I have never been the same. Never will be. A million waves can’t wash away their loss. The wounds are still raw. I cried so hard that there’s been nothing left to cry since. I can’t conjure up tears. They’re gone. But the ladybug is still here, and I believe with all my heart that I am talking to them now. Saying everything unsaid, or making sure they remember everything I said. Making sure. Double-checking. Like locking the door and turning the handle again and again to make sure I did it.

The ladybug is back on my journal now, then my shirt. She wants to stay. Feels at home. And the other one has returned to perch on my phone on the rocks. And the tears come. Steady and salty and finally. It’s as if right here, right now, we are together again and having this human or multi-legged experience together. At this moment, in this space, on these rocks, by these restless waters on this Saturday morning. If not for the grace of God, or these ladybugs, I could have missed this, been somewhere else; not paying attention, or doing some task that needed not needed to be done. But I am here and they are here, and I need this more than breath and life this morning. Stop. Feel. Be. Really Be. Remember.

Tamara’s roots grew on a farm in the Canadian Prairies, but she now calls Toronto home. Her work explores healing without apology for the darkness. She holds a graduate certificate from the Humber School for Writers. Her work recently appeared in the Coalesce Spring Equinox 2022 Collection.