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I don’t remember when the first pennies started appearing after dad’s passing. I do, however, remember pulling up to the local drugstore in town, a day or two after, and my daughter, Tracey, telling me that Somewhere Over the Rainbow was playing — her favorite song — and we took it to be a sign from dad that everything was ok! That was where he was, and it was all good. So I, for one, made a mental note that Somewhere Over the Rainbow would be dad’s song to us.

But it wasn’t soon after that, that the pennies started appearing. Now, I completely understand: pennies are like that; they do just seem to appear. And they appear randomly at most times in everyone’s life. They can be found commonly dropped in parking lots, streets, homes, sidewalks. They can and are dropped by people everywhere, in every avenue of life, and in every place that is traveled by any human who just happens to drop a penny.

So, I don’t remember when the pennies started to become personal to us. Or which one of us was the first to ask the question, somewhere along the lines of: “are you finding pennies lately? I mean, are pennies showing up everywhere?” Or comments about finding so many pennies in so many different places — one after another, enough to get our attention. But, as a family, we definitely started noticing when pennies started showing up in the most unusual, most unlikely places, and at the most important times. This caught our attention and started us wondering …. what is this?

Tracey: I’ve looked down on the floor of my room and a penny will just be there. I have saved them over the years and really should label when and where I’ve found each one. I just know that they appear when I’ve needed help the most. Sometimes over the years we’ve found them on the floor when we went to the Vermont house. I also remember finding a penny on the floor of my dorm room when I first moved in. They are usually found in areas in the center of a room, where it would have been really easily noticed. However, often it seems as though pennies will suddenly appear in the center of a room and were not there before. I remember finding pennies during transitional moments in my life, as well as during times when I needed encouragement — in the dark times and times of uncertainty.

Terrie: I was going to take an important clerical test, and I was really nervous. When I got into my car to go, there were 2 pennies on the seat. The first time I remember taking notice of pennies, was on the walkway coming into my house.

Kim: I don’t remember the first one, but I remember the most unusual was at the foot of my podium when I was teaching a class.

Colleen: The strangest one was on top of my car after my interview for my internship.

Pennies have appeared, for each of us, in many unusual places — in the shower, balanced on top of a picture frame, sitting on the curb as my daughter stepped up to enter her graduation hall and, most recently — two pulled from my husband’s shirt pocket on the morning of his surgery — nothing else in that pocket — just two pennies. They come in all forms too: shiny and new, old and flattened, sometimes green with oxidation or bright and polished. As crazy as it may seem, we like to think of these pennies as being a form of dad’s “talking” to us; a form of his being “with” us. But, in any way they appear, we like to think that dad is there … in spirit … with us, still supporting us, still encouraging us. He’s still our biggest cheerleader and the loudest, too. And from over the rainbow, he sends us his love. How about you? Find any pennies today?

One Angel, You: In Memory of You

Image     Dec. 29, 2009 our dad passed away.  And our world shifted.  He had been sick for a long time with leukemia, diabetes, kidney failure, and congestive heart failure and, over a period of two years, he was in and out of the hospital.

But the week of Christmas, 2009, I found out about time: there is never enough.  There is never enough time to say “goodbye”, there is never enough time to stand together again on an old wooden dock, fishing.  There is never enough time for one last cup of coffee in your hospital room, watching the sun come up over the mountains in the distance — there is never enough time.


And that Christmas Eve, for one last moment, I held your hand, weak and old.   I remember when your hands were so strong — and that memory catches my breath, in a sob.  I press your hand against my cheek – I squeeze, I think you squeeze back.   And we know that is the final goodbye. We didn’t have to say a word.

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When two days later, Jayne calls to say you have been sleeping all day — so unlike you, your moving, active self could never sit still unless you were holding a fishing rod — I can’t go to see you. I know I should. But I can’t see you like that. We said our goodbye; and I want to remember you, in that moment, forever.

And that is what we all thought: you were gone forever. Until the signs came. The rainbows, the song, the pennies found in strange and odd places — one balancing on its end — random, but we noticed. And we took these signs for what we needed: that you saw us, and you were on your way to heaven, just stopping by to say “hello”.

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And now we know — we will see you again.