98: Pennies from Paula

98: Pennies from Paula

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Angels and Miracles

Pennies from Paula

A strong friendship doesn’t need daily conversation or being together. As long as the relationship lives in the heart, true friends never part.

~Author Unknown

When my best friend, Paula, passed away eight years ago, my daughter had a difficult time working through the loss. McKenna was ten years old at the time and Paula was like a fun aunt to her. She would see or hear from Paula at least a couple of times a week. Paula was my backup sitter and a true comfort to McKenna when I was going through my divorce.

When Paula went into the hospital for her second transplant in 2007, I really did believe that she would sail through the procedure just like she had before. There was nothing in Paula’s history with the disease that would make me believe anything different. She had been a fighter and a survivor since the day that she was first diagnosed with cancer.

When I realized that Paula would not be coming home from the hospital, I tried to prepare McKenna as best I could. My daughter had already experienced great loss when my grandmother passed away. But as McKenna reminded me, GG, short for Great-Grandma was older and that was what happened when people got old. Paula, on the other hand was not old, so death should not have been a possibility.

Telling McKenna that Paula had died was one of the hardest things I have ever done. There were tears, yelling and lots of sleepless nights. McKenna was afraid that if Paula could die young, so could I. I did my best to assure her that was not going to happen, but I know that she did not fully believe me. We prayed a lot.

During this time, I tried to keep McKenna busy so there would be less time to worry. I had her enter an art competition at my work. Students were asked to make something out of a generic, small box. McKenna decided to make a wishing well. It was really quite cute and she added pennies as part of the décor. When explaining her thoughts behind her “box art” creation, McKenna remembered what I had told her about finding pennies. I had told her it meant that someone in heaven was thinking about you. Her wishing well was actually a tribute to her friend Paula.

This simple piece of art seemed to do the trick. McKenna was feeling better and we were finding pennies everywhere . . . inside the house, the car, on walks, in parking lots, her room, my office, etc.

Then one night, when I was having a hard time falling asleep, I felt a presence in my room. I remember this feeling of peace and a swirling light hovering at the door. I was not frightened and I immediately knew that it was Paula.

The next morning when I woke up, before I could say anything about last night’s “visit,” my husband Joe said to me, “Paula was here last night.” I asked him why he thought that. Joe is blind so I was pretty sure that he did not see the same light that I did. He then said that when he got up to go to the bathroom, he passed her in the doorway. He said that he felt a presence as he was walking by and immediately knew that it was Paula.

Needless to say, I was a little surprised when Joe shared his encounter with me. However, when I got out of bed and headed out of the room, I found a penny on the floor right where I saw the light. I knew that my dear friend had indeed stopped by.

~Laura Dailey-Pelle

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