April 13, 2024

L - Ladybug Rocks #LadyBugRocksFL


Theme: Grief Work and Healing Journey

A few weeks after my mom passed away last year (2023), I found a small bucket of stones my mom had hand-painted to look like ladybugs. She had wanted to use them as swag at book events. Either as is or to turn them into magnets. I decided to leave them in random places for strangers to find, hoping they’d bring a smile to someone’s face. Or bring others a little luck. I think she would’ve liked the idea of her ladybug stones decorating the city for people to discover by chance, like treasure left behind by fairies. (I’m the fairy.) 

There were 63 ladybug rocks total. I still have a handful left for special occasions.

These are the ladybug rocks.

 I left three ladybug stones at a local library.

I left two in the parking lot of a Sharing Center.

One day, I had to go to the area where one hospital and two doctors’ offices that my mom went to are located. I decided on my way home that I’d stop at each place and leave my mom’s ladybug rocks.

I left four at the hospital's Heart Center, because my mom had been there in February of 2023 and a lot in 2022. I put them in places I used to walk past. I also put one on a bench to make someone’s day.

I left one on her lung specialist’s sign.

 I left one at a Cancer Care Center where she had her radiation treatments.

I really did feel like a “little” big fairy leaving ladybugs around. It was fun, and I smiled after placing each one. Later, whenever I had to drive up that way or past those places, I thought of the ladybugs. I wondered if they were still there or who might’ve found them. It helped! 🐞❤️

 I set one of my mom’s ladybug rocks on top of the opened book this little girl statue is holding, located at another local library. 🐞❤️

The inscription on the page says, “Words can change the world.”

A ladybug rock sitting on a tree's root at the church where I went to Grief Share meetings.

And a ladybug rock perched on a tree branch at an antique mall where I used to sell items.

Here is a ladybug rock near the entrance of the parking lot where my mom’s cardiologist was located. She started going there last year, and, because of her congestive heart failure diagnosis, we ended up there quite a bit in January and February. 

Sometimes, I like to put the ladybug rocks somewhere they’re good and hidden. Like this time. It’s so maybe they’ll be there for a long time. Other times, I put them somewhere they can easily be found by others.

I went to Erna Nixon Park one morning after running errands close by. Before I took a walk through nature and captured photos, I left a momma and baby ladybug rocks in the butterfly garden. When I was there last month, there was a tray to take and leave a rock or shell. That’s where I wanted to put these, but the tray wasn’t there anymore. So, in the same spot, in the back, on top of a painted brick, I left this pair. I also left one on a cement brick at the entrance where painted bricks circle the sign with the park’s rules.

I had to drive past the hospital where my mom passed away, so I made a quick stop to “ladybug it” (the verb I use to describe my action of leaving ladybug rocks all stealth-like 😂). I chose the biggest one in my bucket, and I put it on the parking space where I used to always park when she was admitted there. A car was parked there at the time. While squatting down to take pictures, I was thinking about the owner looking out a window and seeing me, and I thought, “I’m not doing anything to your car, just leaving a ladybug rock for you to find when you leave.” 🐞 

Can you spot the ladybug rock? 😆

I placed a ladybug rock in the middle of this rock circle at the Medical Group where my mom’s primary care doctor was located. She was so sweet to my mom and even wanted to attend my mom’s funeral, but we didn't do one. (My mom wouldn’t have wanted one.)

This ladybug rock may go unnoticed for a while, and that’s okay. I like thinking that some of them will stay in their place a while, blessing the location and everyone there. 🐞

The ladybug fairy left behind a rock at Melbourne Beach today. 🏝️ 🐞 😘

My mom loved the beach, so I had to leave one there.

I ladybugged (the other verb I use for the action of leaving ladybug rocks in “secret” places) the Back Center where my mom got her MRIs done. She had just had an MRI on her spine done in February so we could start pain management. She hated MRIs. She’d be anxious before them and emotional after them. Every time we went to the Back Center, I would wheel her past these red flowers in her purple wheelchair decorated with butterfly stickers. After she got her last MRI I was going to pluck one for her, but I forgot because she was upset, glad it was over. I did, however, pluck one on the way out after we got the results of the scans. I still have it. I left a ladybug rock right beside those flowers. 🐞

I also left a ladybug rock on a boulder in front of a Medical Center where she used to get her PET scans. 

When I had to pick up my mom’s ashes, I left a ladybug rock.
It was sitting on the bench, patiently waiting to comfort someone. 🐞

Before I headed into a local writers meeting, I stopped at the library’s rock garden and left behind three ladybug rocks.

Two hours later, when I left the library, all three ladybug rocks were already gone. I just hope one person didn’t take them all, but that they went to two or three different homes. 🐞🪨❤️

I placed one on the sign where my mom got her chemotherapy and immunotherapy treatments. 

I left this ladybug rock on a rock wall at a park by me. I like to go there when I can. My mom and I went there a couple of times. Once to take pictures of Sammy the Teddy Bear 🧸 having fun, which we posted to my mom’s Instagram @elainekayeauthor. 

I left a ladybug rock at a third local library.

I ladybugged the final library my mom and I used to go to. We went there a lot when we lived in another city, and we tried to go to their annual book sales, although the last one was before the pandemic.

I left a ladybug rock in Cocoa Village where my mom and I once had a book event and where we went a couple of times to check out the shops when we lived closer. I found this garden stone with a ladybug on it. It was perfect for one of my mom’s ladybug rocks.

I ladybugged an Eye Institute where my mom had gone to for eye treatments before the pandemic and cataract eye surgery. We had plans to get an appointment for her eyes this year when she felt better. Reading was something she had done twice a day—after lunch and before bedtime. That was before her diagnosis, though. She hadn’t done much reading after that because her vision wasn’t the best and we were waiting for other things to improve before focusing on her eyes. Unfortunately, that hadn’t happened. 

This was my view while my mom had cataract eye surgery. I left a ladybug there for someone to find.

I placed this ladybug on a post in the parking lot of the pharmacy I went to for all of my mom’s medications. One of the clerks and one of the delivery drivers had come to recognize me because she needed medicine (new ones and her usual ones) a lot.

I left one of my mom’s ladybugs on the water fountain outside a car dealership while my car was being serviced. 

My sister and I ladybugged the sign for this medical rehab facility.

Driving past this place after work, had been tough. The last day I saw my mom, I had talked to her about how she may have to be transferred there from the hospital for a week or two max so nurses could really help us get a handle on her meds and the congestive heart failure. She was so weak and not feeling well, so she agreed it would be necessary. I had told her I’d be there daily for as long as they’d let me stay as a guest. That conversation and that day has haunted me ever since. I’ve worried and wondered that maybe her thinking she’d have to go there meant I was giving up and so she gave up, too.

Driving past that facility, those thoughts resurfaced. I realized that I’d have to place a ladybug rock there in order to shift my thoughts whenever I think about that place. It was raining on the way there, but it stopped long enough for my sister and I to put this ladybug on the sign. And it worked...after that, every time I drove past, I'd see that ladybug hanging on to that sign. For weeks. Even after several intense storms.

While doing this fun task someone commented on one of my posts about how they were inspired to use the ladybug rock idea:

Text Reads: As a bonding activity for my inbound Journalism students, I have decided they will paint ladybug rocks and give to one another. It's a tribute to the love you miss receiving from your mom and the beautiful way you've unselfishly shared her creations to make random strangers smile.

That message was a sweet surprise. I had no idea what I was doing to help with my grief would lead to something like that. My mom would’ve loved knowing her ladybug rocks were making an impact.



B - Beach

C - Church

D - Donating

E - Epistle (Letter from Heaven)

F - Facebook Posts

G - Grief Share

H - Haiku Poetry

I - Imari

J - Job (New Job)

K - Kitchen Time

L - Ladybug Rocks #LadyBugRocksFL


  1. I remember when you shared your ladybug photos on Instagram. Such a great tribute to your mum.

    Ronel visiting for L: My Languishing TBR: L

  2. Absolutely enchanting. How your mom painted all these pretty ladybug rocks, and how you decided to share them. I love this so much. How many days were cheered and brightened by finding one of these rocks? I guess you will never know but my guess is that you and your mom changed quite a few lives for the better.

  3. This is such a sweet story. I'm sure your mum would have loved the idea. And personally, I'd love to learn about the people who found them. Maybe, one day, one will stumble into this post and will contact you :-)

    1. That’d be amazing. I always wondered who found them.

  4. I love that you found homes for your mom's painted rocks. I am sure they brought delight to whoever found them -- and that your mom would have been pleased.

  5. Lovely idea, Chrys. Hope many were blessed.

  6. I am confident that your Mom's ladybugs have brought joy and/or comfort to many. It was a wonderful gesture, both for the future recipients and for you. I hope it brought some healing to you, too.

  7. That sounds like it was a fun game for you. Have you been back to see if the ladybugs are still there?

    1. Some locations, I did return to, and they were gone. Others…like the hospital or doctor’s offices…I did not go back to them to check.

  8. This was a delightful idea and very cathartic for you, I imagine. Those stones will bring a smile to so many faces.

    1. It helped me a lot to leave those ladybug rocks.