Four years ago, my grandpa was in the process of dying and it sucked...a lot. However, there were some bright spots in the process. Because of the nature of my job and the ages of my kids, I was able to spend several days a week with him, making him tea, hanging out and talking, making sure he had whatever he needed and just generally looking after him.
I'd go over in the morning after I dropped my kids off at school and relieve whichever of my relatives had spent the night and someone else would trade places with me when it was time for me to pick up my kids in the afternoon.
There were days that were really hard - days that he was confused and wondering aloud to me why he wasn't gone yet - he was more than ready. There were also days that were wonderful - days that he told me the story of meeting my Gram and stories about my mom and aunts and uncles when they were little. He told me how grateful he was for our family and how much he loved us all. Near the end, there were days that he just slept and there were days when he woke up from his naps telling me that "Ruby said she's coming for me soon."
I never questioned the fact that he saw my Grandmother. I have a couple friends and a family member that see the dead, so why not my Grandpa - it made sense to me since he was so close to death himself. Even though I knew it was coming, and even though I knew it was for the best, I had a hard time making peace with it - until the morning of February 1st.
I was running late and I didn't have time to grab breakfast so I ran through the drive-thru at McDonald's...yeah, not the healthiest choice, but it was quick. After I paid for my meal, I was putting my change away and I noticed something odd. Instead of a penny, I had a British pence in my hand along with the other coins. I'm assuming that perhaps the cashier thought it was a Canadian penny since we get a lot of those in Michigan, but the Canadian penny is the same size as the U.S. penny and as you can see from the picture, this one is quite a bit bigger.
In fact, it was the same denomination that my Gram put in my shoe for luck the day I got married. According to her, it was supposed to be a six-pence in my shoe for luck, but at the time we couldn't find one, so we used a two-pence instead, because as she said, "something's better than nothing." I'm not sure if that's a tradition in all of the U.K. or if it's just a Welsh thing, but I walked around for an entire day with a coin in my shoe.
Anyway, as I sat there in the drive-thru staring at the coin, I realized it was my Gram's birthday that day and I felt this overwhelming sense of peace. I honestly felt like it was her way of letting me know that it was okay to let go of my Grandpa and that everything was going to be okay. He died in the early morning hours of February 3rd, surrounded by family and I have no doubt Ruby was waiting for him.
It's funny - life is full of little miracles...especially when we're least expecting them.