“After my brother, Dylan, died of cancer earlier this year, I began taking weekly trips to the cemetery to visit his grave. A few weeks ago, I knelt by his tombstone and ran my fingers over his name as I wept to him about how dearly he was missed. I reflected back to when we were kids, always playing hide-and-seek in the woods. He’d call out to me: ‘You’re not looking hard enough, Ladybug. I’m right here, closer than you think.’
“How I loved that he would call me Ladybug. I wished we were playing hide-and-seek again, but this time he was gone for good. No matter how many times I visited his grave, I always felt more alone. All I could do was gaze at the cloud-speckled sky and utter a heartfelt plea. ‘I don’t understand, Lord,’ I sobbed. ‘I come here faithfully, but I feel like You’re abandoning me. Please give me a sign somehow that Dylan is happy with You and at peace.’
“The next morning, I was shocked to see a ladybug on my car windshield. They’re long out of season, I thought before shrugging it off. When another ladybug alighted on my hand as I walked into work, I couldn’t hold back my tears.
“In that moment, as the little red insect danced across my palm, I felt the warmth of Dylan’s arms around me and realized that what I was looking for wasn’t in a cemetery. My brother’s love was already all around me in tiny miracles…like ladybugs in the late fall. I gazed up to the sky, overcome with pure love for my Heavenly Father and my dear brother. ‘Lord, thank You for showing me Dylan is here with me,’ I whispered. And in my heart, I knew the truth: Love ensures those we lose are always closer than we think.”
—Anna Sutton, 61, Chattanooga, TN