After my grandmother passed away, Dad stepped out of the hospital for some fresh air. Then he said a prayer and asked my grandmother to send him a sign. When he opened his eyes, there was a dime at his feet. And after that day– he began to look for dimes everywhere.
I was six years old at the time, and he’d always get me to help him search. My head would be down wherever we went. And whenever we found one, he’d say: ‘Bubby sent it to us!’ Then we’d add it to a little clay jar that I made. Sometimes when I was in third grade, my parents sat me down and told me that Dad had cancer. I remember sitting in the guidance counselor’s office during recess. Apparently, he’d already been sick for several years. It was a rare type of cancer. And it was aggressive.
It would go away for two months at a time, but it would always come back. But even the people who knew him had no idea. He never let it stop him. He worked really hard. He woke up every morning at 4 AM to use the elliptical. Unfortunately, his last few years lined up with my angsty teenage years. I pushed him away a lot. I wanted to hang out with my friends. And Dad wasn’t really the artistic type, so I didn’t think we had much in common. But he kept trying. And things did get better between us. He was really silly and affectionate. He’d burst into my room while I was studying, singing at the top of his lungs, using a bottle of shampoo as a microphone. He’d always ask me to get coffee. Or breakfast. And I’d usually say ‘no.’ Because it’s hard when you have a terminally ill parent.
You think about it all the time, but it’s the last thing you want to think about. And there’s this knowledge that the closer you become, the harder it’s going to be. He died when I was sixteen. It was November 30th. I remember walking around the parking lot at his funeral– staring at the ground. There wasn’t a dime anywhere. We found over 300 dimes when he was alive, but I couldn’t find any after he died. I searched everywhere for an entire month. Then one day I had a really bad day. So I decided to visit his grave for the very first time since his funeral. I parked my car, walked down the steps, and found my dad’s plaque. Then I looked down at my feet. And there it was.