For a long time I have been a believer in ‘signs’. I have long believed that when feathers appear around me it is a message from my mother telling me that she is still with me.
Coincidentally, my son and daughter-in-law travelled to Japan and on their return they bought me a small gift. “I hope you like it,” my daughter-in-law said. When I opened it up I found a beautiful glass bottle and around its neck was a small chain with gold and silver filigree feathers attached. It was perfume by Australian singer-songwriter Delta Goodrem. I wondered about the feathers and whether they might have some meaning. When I turned the television on recently Delta Goodrem was being interviewed and she was speaking about her new fragrance. When I’d looked into the significance of the feathers, I was surprised to see that as she had battled and overcome leukaemia, the feathers were a sign that she had survived and that someone had been watching over her. I now wear the feathers on a chain.
All this reminded me of the time I spent with some particular family friends. They had three girls and, together with our five, we enjoyed outings with eight children in tow. The father, Peter, worked for a paint company and worked in the lab. He was accustomed to regular medicals to keep an eye on his health. On one occasion he had his check up and some X-rays. When he collected the results and reviewed the X-rays everything was said to be okay.
Unfortunately, there was a mix up and Peter’s X-rays were put in the envelope for one of his workmates. His workmate’s results had been placed in the envelope for Peter. When he finally got the right X-ray, the review was quite shocking. It revealed there were shadows on his chest. Peter had a follow-up X-ray and it revealed that the shadows had got bigger. Peter was admitted to hospital, but the cancer was quite aggressive. He was given oxygen and told that there was nothing that could be done.
At the time we had a convertible and Peter said to us “I’d love to go for a drive with the roof down”. Peter went in our car with the roof down and I went with his wife in their car. He had a breathing tube in and carried a cylinder of oxygen.
We went to a pub at Walacia in Sydney. It had a lovely courtyard and wooden benches so we enjoyed relaxing. I sat with Peter and his wife and my husband went to get lunch, I turned away and when looked back I was shocked. Peter was covered with lady beetles. They were on his tube and in his hair. I started brushing them of him. We were all surprised. Peter died not long after this outing, however, for months after his death there would be ladybirds turning up in the most unusual places.
In Italy legend has it that swarms of insects were killing the farmer’s crops and they prayed to the Virgin Mary for help. It came in the form of thousands of lady beetles, which devoured the pests. The farmers called them ‘the beetles of our Lady’. The red wings represent her cloak and the black spots mean joy and sorrow.
Peter’s wife felt him around for a long time after his passing, but told me he must be at peace now as she doesn’t get any visits from lady beetles any more.