Donna Everhart

Finding Pennies

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?


23 thoughts on “Finding Pennies”

    1. At the risk of writing an entire book to tell you, I’ll just simply say, yes, he was. And all this simply boils down to really, really missing him, his voice, his odd sense of humor, his wisecracks, but most of all, his quiet presence.

    1. Awww, thank you Lilac! It came straight from the heart. <3 <3 <3 After finding the penny in that coat pocket (mind you, washed, and tumbled dry!) I'd say I am too!

  1. I think there’s more to this world than what our eyes can see. I had chills on my spine when you wrote about putting on the washed coat. Love is in the air. (Hm, isn’t that a song?)

    1. I hesitated before I pulled it on. It’s weird. It’s been hanging there for a year…I’ve brushed my hand over it, but never put it on. Let me tell you what, I smiled when I found that penny! I haven’t told Mom yet. She’ll love the story though. And yes! That is a song! 😉

  2. Sitting in McD’s on my laptop, and this made me tear up. So thanks for making me get misty in public, Donna 😛 No really, I loved this. I can see what a special man he was just by the way you write about him. Beautiful post.

    1. Hey, there’s nothing better than a good jerk cry in public, Lennon, LOL! (trust me) It might get you a free French Fry, you never know.
      He was special, as most Dad’s are to their Daughters. I can still hear him say, “daughter,” except he pronounced it “dorter.” I’ll never again hear another person say things the way he did. Big sigh.

    1. Too bad someone wasn’t there to capture the look on my face when I pulled that penny out of the pocket. I do know I smiled.

  3. Oh my, this happens to us all the time.
    My father-in-law has left us so many pennies that my sister-in-law started leaving the pennies on the top of his stone. Sometimes they are taken, no worries, we just keep adding the newest found.
    Like John Frain said, I don’t believe in coincidences either.
    Your dad is letting you know all is well and that he’s with you. I am as convinced of that as I am of the word-quirks I get from my parents. Like I commented over at Lilacs, just because we cannot explain something does not mean it does not exist.

    1. I love this sort of thing, honestly. I’m fascinated, mystified, and thrilled – all at once. One can’t help but scream, “it’s a sign!” ya know? 😉 I’ll take it. I love signs. Please show/send me more.
      That’s amazing about your father-in-law. And I love that you guyz are leaving them on his stone. That’s perfect.

  4. I hadn’t realized that’s what “pennies from heaven” was; that’s sweet and heartbreaking. I’m not in the habit of finding pennies; I do, however, find flat round rocks. Which, in this context, perhaps fits the same/similar purpose.

    1. I have a friend who finds hearts “everywhere.” She will snap a picture – of a heart shaped leaf, of the clouds which are suddenly looking very Valentine’ish, a rock with the shape, I mean literally? She can see hearts in almost any given situation. It’s very cool. Maybe your stones are a similar thing – but yes, either way, I’d say same purpose/context. The signs are there if we take the time to look for them – ya know?

  5. Beautiful story, Donna. I lost my dad decades ago and I still miss him. That never goes away, but it does get easier. Like some of the others here, I don’t believe in coincidences, but I believe there’s a lot more to this universe than meets the eye. Years ago I met an Italian girl who saw signs everywhere, so much so most of the people she met thought she was sweet, but a little wacky. Through the years, I’ve come to realize many of those signs were right on the money. She was more in tune with life than we gave her credit for. Those pennies are your dad’s way of letting you and your family know he’s still with you.

    1. Thank you, Lynn. When I found that penny in my Dad’s coat pocket it all sort of came full circle, you know? I knew I would blog about it because it’s one of those life events that touches us in that mystical way most people tend to love. I know I do. When we meet someone like the Italian girl you knew, it’s special. I am actually envious of those who seem to sense/see the things we can’t. I’ve sworn – especially since I became committed to writing – that I would “open my eyes” to the world around me more. Maybe my Dad is just trying to help me out. 🙂 Either way, I’m very, very happy to know he’s with us!

    1. Believe me, every time I re-read this thing, I’m doing the same thing, Lucie…! My dad was very quiet, thoughtful and gentle. I only heard him tell me he loved me once, but he didn’t need to say it, really, not ever. I already knew.

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