At this moment, I am sitting in the warmth of a sunbeam, sipping a cup of tea, and enjoying a quiet afternoon while both my girls nap. What a glorious moment. Or, at least it would be, except for the dead ladybug sitting in a jar on the windowsill next to me.
It’s springtime. Dead bugs are a common presence around here. But this bug is different. For starters, she has a name. Odette. And she is loved dearly by my eldest daughter, Boo.
Boo found Odette while at her grandparent’s house and, “she crawled into my suitcase because she loves me so much,” Boo explained proudly holding an airtight container that she had placed Odette in.
“I don’t want Odette to fly away,” Boo shrieked when I opened the jar. “I am going to give her to Reeves so that he can love her too.” Reeves is one of Boo’s best friends. He is also the world’s biggest fan of ladybugs.
I looked in the jar at the faded ladybug. Boo had ripped off a leaf from one of my plants and dropped it into the jar, “so she has something to eat, so she can grow big and healthy.”
Perhaps it was the three days we left Boo’s suitcase in the cold car. Perhaps it was the airtight habitat. Or perhaps Odette had been dead all along. Whatever it was, it’s making me uncomfortable.
Death makes me uncomfortable. I don’t know how to explain it, talk about it, or deal with it –and so I don’t. But Easter makes this act of denial just a little bit harder. When Boo asks about Easter, I don’t know how to explain. I use vague phrases like, “Jesus went away and then came back!” and then quickly distract her. I know. Pathetic. You can’t celebrate a resurrection unless you first mourn a death.
My explanation of Easter has been far from stellar. The thing is: my over-generalization of Easter is not for her sake, but rather for mine. When we skip over 75 percent of her children’s Bible stories because they deal with fatal punishments, it’s more for me than for her. She can handle more than I want her to. I just don’t think I’m ready for all the questions I don’t have answers for. Not yet.
In the meantime, I’ll just ponder along with her and guide her towards her father, or grandparents, or Sunday school teacher, or someone wiser and braver. I am also going to try to find another ladybug.