I made no move to mark or signal in any way my father’s one year anniversary of passing. About three days before the official day, Mom and I went out to the grave site and swapped out the Christmas flowers for a selection of silk flowers I’d picked out, varying shades of off white, sunny yellow and deep blues. A Spring bouquet.
She worried over the stone. “Look, Donna, it’s sinking.”
I bent over and strained to see. Yes. Maybe that one corner was dipping into the rain sodden ground, ever so slightly.
“We have to call the cemetery office. We have to tell them to fix it.”
“I’ll call them today, Mom.”
“Here, brush it off. I don’t want it to be dirty.”
I whisked away a few strands of dead grass. A bug. A small bit of dirt.
“There. That’s much better,” she said.
We didn’t get that quiet time we wanted with Dad. Right beside his grave two men worked to prepare an “Opening.” They were polite, and kept about it, but it was hard to stand there and feel any sense of connection to Dad, so, we left.
As is often the case when dealing with loss, those left behind, the ones impacted the most might tend to look for “signs.” Several weeks after Dad passed, when Mom’s grief had diminished to a more manageable sadness and she once again became more aware of her surroundings, she began finding pennies here and there. We were at a Minute Clinic at a CVS store for her to get a pneumonia shot, and while sitting in one of the little waiting chairs just outside the clinic, right in front of her feet – a penny.
“Oh! Look, Donna. A penny! That’s your father signaling me.”
She bent over, picked it up as I said, “What?”
“Haven’t you heard about pennies from heaven?” she asked.
Vaguely, I think I had…I wasn’t sure. She said after a loved one has passed, if you find pennies (or other change I guess) in odd places, it was a sign they were with you.
“Hm,” said I, with some skepticism. It’s possible you could find spare change just about anywhere, if you looked hard enough.
But then, a couple weeks later, we were standing in the backyard discussing what she was going to do about mulching and trimming, and there on the ground at our feet, another penny. In the grass. How odd.
And still again, I took her to a store to pick up a few things, and as we waited in line to be checked out, what did we see? Yep. Another penny right by her foot.
More recently, my brother and I accompanied her to a minor procedure. While she and I sat side by side in the waiting room, (my brother paced) there on the carpeted floor? Sigh. Yes. A penny.
She was thrilled. “I see you, Daddy.”
I have to admit, my hint of skepticism was waning.
And then this happened.
We’ve been dealing with the flu, here in the Everhart household. I recently washed a blanket I’d taken down from the closet to use one night when the fever spiked and I was certain death from freezing was imminent. After it was dry, I folded it back up and was putting it back on the closet shelf.
In that closet hangs my Dad’s coat. The one I’d given him years ago, and the one he wore ALL the time – especially after he became ill and seemed to stay cold.
After he passed, I told Mom I wanted it – sentimental reasons and all. I brought it home, washed it, dried it, and hung it up. It’s been in the closet over a year. I took it off the hanger, and something made me put it on. I shoved my hands into the pockets, and stood there a moment, breathing deep, wishing, in a way, that I hadn’t washed it because it only smelled of detergent.
I wiggled my fingers in the left pocket and encountered a flat round object. I pulled it out and stared at what lay in my hand. Yes. A penny.
I don’t know, what do you think?