My Symbol of Hope

In the midst of the chaos of planning my son's funeral, my doorbell rang.

I opened the door to find my 4 best neighborhood friends. I hadn’t seen them since they got the news about Jackson so they came rushing in and we all crumpled to the ground crying in the entryway.

I can't remember what they said. I just know they weren't afraid to show up. Actually, they probably were afraid, but they showed up anyway.

They brought me 2 gifts that helped me in many ways and for many years. The first gift was a silver necklace with a dragonfly charm. I wore this necklace every single day. I later learned this type of items is considered a "transitional object" - a physical object you can wear or hold that helps you feel connected to your loved one.  

The second gift was a story - "Waterbugs and Dragonflies" by Doris Hickney.

The story is a parable of the afterlife. The waterbugs represent humans. They scurry around in the mud and muck of the pond (life on earth) but eventually they crawl to the surface (the afterlife) and transform into dragonflies. They don't want to leave their waterbug family and friends but as they try to re-enter the pond, they find they can't go back. They realize someday their loved ones will become dragonflies too. And so they fly off into their beautiful new world of sunshine and air.

After reading the story I remember saying, “I don’t want Jackson to be a dragonfly. I want him to be a waterbug and be here with me!”

But thinking of Jackson being happy, enjoying his new life as a dragonfly, soaring the skies in the "beyond" was a comfort to me. 

I've loved dragonflies ever since that day. I have dragonfly paraphernalia everywhere ... pictures and paintings and yard ornaments and lots more jewelry.  On a girls trip to Vegas about 5 years later, I even got a small dragonfly tattoo on my hip. I NEVER thought I’d get a tattoo but … things change.

This story is the reason my business logo has a prominent dragonfly.

It’s a symbol of hope, spirituality, strength, endurance, love, and eternal connection.

Scroll down to read the full story. ⏬

Water Bugs and Dragonflies

by Doris Stickney

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 muck on the bottom of the pond. They did notice that every once in a while one of their colony seemed to lose interest in going about with its friends. Clinging to the stem of a pond lily, it gradually moved out of sight and was seen no more.

"Look!" said one of the water bugs to another. "One of our colony is climbing up the lily stalk.  Where do you suppose he 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 he happy here?" asked a second water bug.  "Where do you suppose he went?" wondered a third. No one had the answer. They were greatly puzzled.

Finally one of the water bugs, a leader in the colony, gathered its friends together. "I have an idea. 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 pad above.

When he awoke, he looked about with surprise. He couldn't believe what he saw. A startling change had come to his old 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 the new atmosphere. 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, and where I went."

And the dragonfly winged off happily into its wonderful world of sun and air!

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