12: Pennies from Heaven

12: Pennies from Heaven

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Grand and Great

Pennies from Heaven

“Nana! Help! I’m falling!” and suddenly the little girl with her new roller blades had fallen on the sidewalk for the one hundredth time.

“I can’t do it!” the little girl cried as a tear rolled down her cheek.

“Don’t worry. I’m here to catch you,” whispered Nana as she wiped the tear away. “Remember, when it rains, it rains pennies from heaven!” Nana hugged the girl and started to hum the song.

From the time the girl was six weeks old, Nana took care of her in every way. She fed, rocked and played with the girl. She never seemed to mind when the little girl smelled dirty. She was always there with open arms when the little girl was wobbly or unsure of herself. She smiled and encouraged her when the little girl couldn’t talk well and told her to keep practicing.

“You can do anything you want to do. Just put your mind to it,” Nana would say to her.

Nana taught the little girl to play the piano. In Nana’s shaky handwriting, she would write songs for the little girl to play on the piano. Every Christmas they saw The Nutcracker together. Nana would cheer and clap when the little girl would try to twirl and dance like the ballerinas.

“Remember, never give up. Just feel the music in here,” and she would point to her heart. The little girl understood, because when she was with Nana she felt she could be and do almost anything.

During this time, the little girl didn’t notice how Nana’s hands and head shook for no reason at all. She didn’t notice, and she didn’t care. Nana loved her and was her very best friend.

Soon the little girl went off to school. She made new friends and became busy with all the things school brings. She had less and less time to spend with Nana. Nana’s shaking got much worse, and soon the girl felt strange being with her. The little girl found out that Nana had a disease called Parkinson’s, which is a disease that takes over a person’s body. This disease forced Nana to move to a nursing home to be taken care of.

One day the girl went to visit Nana. Everything about the nursing home gave the girl a strange and uncomfortable feeling. She noticed the small, bare room. She noticed that Nana didn’t smell as good as she used to. The girl heard Nana’s teacup make a clinking noise against the plate as her Nana slowly took a sip. The girl could hardly watch as Nana got up and slowly, oh so slowly, tried to take a tiny step. The girl felt sad as she watched her Nana fall back on her bed. And then suddenly the girl saw a picture in her mind.

The girl remembered how Nana had gently encouraged her when she was learning how to try her new roller blades. She remembered how Nana would hug her and smile whenever the girl felt she couldn’t do something. And then she realized something else Nana had given her. Nana had taught her what to do for someone who needed to feel safe, secure and loved.

The girl took her Nana by the hand and slowly helped her to her feet.

“Well, I can’t walk as good as I used to. I don’t feel so sure of myself,” Nana slurred.

“Don’t worry, Nana, you can do it. You know, when it rains, it rains pennies from heaven.”

~Emily Erickson
Chicken Soup for the Grandma’s Soul

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