I never thought I’d ever be wishing to see a ghost. Despite my love of celebrating Halloween, I’ve always been scared of horror films or the thought of ghosts. I think my love of Halloween mainly stems from my love of sweets…
I can remember one evening near Christmas, I must of been about 8, walking down the lane where my parents lived delivering Christmas cards to our neighbours. Living in the middle of no where with no street lights for miles, the only light on our walk was from the torch. I remember being scared and asking my dad what we’d do if we saw a ghost. He said we’d say hello and ask them how they were. I certainly wasn’t up for greeting any ghosts and I thought he was mad! How I wish now to stumble across a ghost.
Lexi’s death has thrown up so many thoughts I had never considered before. If there is a heaven who is looking after her? Would she age like she would on earth or would she be just as we knew her forever more? Does she get to look down on us? Does she miss us like we miss her… it’s these thoughts that keep me awake in the night and lead me back to the same hope. A sign. Just something to let me know she is ok. Should I be looking and hoping for a sign? Or should I just hold onto my belief she is ok?
My lovely friend Claire, back in January told me this beautiful fable, Waterbugs and Dragonflies. It has been retold and changed over the years and written down and published by Doris Stickney. It is a story that has brought me a lot of comfort in the last few months. I try to remind myself of its message often.
Waterbugs and Dragonflies
Down below the surface of a quiet pond lived a little colony of water bugs. They were a happy colony, living far away from the sun. For many months they were very busy, scurrying over the soft mud on the bottom of the pond. They noticed that every once in a while one of their colony seemed to lose interest in going about its business with its friends. Clinging to the stem of a pond lily, it gradually climbed out of sight and was never seen again.
“Look!” said one of the water bugs to another. “One of our colony is climbing up the lily stalk. Where do you suppose she is going?” Up, up, up it went slowly. Even as they watched, the water bug disappeared from sight. Its friends waited and waited but it didn’t return. “That’s funny!” said one water bug to another. “Wasn’t she happy here?” asked a second water bug. “Where do you suppose she went?” wondered a third. No one had an answer. They were greatly puzzled.
Finally one of the water bugs, a leader in the colony, gathered them all together. “I have an idea”, he said. “The next one of us who climbs up the lily stalk must promise to come back and tell us where he or she went and why.” “We promise,” they said solemnly.
One spring day, not long after, the very water bug who had suggested the plan found himself climbing up the lily stalk. Up, up, up he went. Before he knew what was happening, he had broken through the surface of the water, and fallen onto the broad, green lily pad above. He was so tired, and the sun felt so warm, that he decided to take a nap. As he slept, his body changed and when he awoke, he had turned into a beautiful blue-tailed dragonfly with broad wings and a slender body designed for flying. He couldn’t believe the startling change he saw in his body. His movement revealed four silver wings and a long tail. Even as he struggled, he felt an impulse to move his wings. The warmth of the sun soon dried the moisture from the new body. He moved his wings again and suddenly found himself up above the water. He had become a dragonfly.
Swooping and dipping in great curves, he flew through the air. He felt exhilarated in his new environment. By and by, the new dragonfly lighted happily on a lily pad to rest. Then it was that he chanced to look below to the bottom of the pond. Why, he was right above his old friends, the water bugs! There they were, scurrying about, just as he had been doing some time before. Then the dragonfly remembered the promise: “The next one of us who climbs up the lily stalk will come back and tell where he or she went and why.”
Without thinking, the dragonfly darted down. Suddenly he hit the surface of the water and bounced away. Now that he was a dragonfly, he could no longer go into the water. “I can’t return!” he said in dismay. “At least I tried, but I can’t keep my promise. Even if I could go back, not one of the water bugs would know me in my new body. I guess I’ll just have to wait until they become dragonflies too. Then they’ll understand what happened to me, where I went, and this wonderful new life I’ve been given.”
And the dragonfly winged off happily into its wonderful new world of sun and air.
It’s hard to imagine I know. Clinging to a story like that but really all I’m left with is a vague belief that one day I might get a glimmer of hope that Lexi is safe and happy. To be left with a wish to see the ghost of your daughter or some undeniable sign she is safe isn’t easy to describe. But maybe I should take comfort in the lack of signs.
Maybe she is far to happy, enjoying her wonderful new world.
The photo is of a dragonfly I saw whilst visiting Lexi’s grave recently.