I’ve always believed in heaven and hell. I never really thought about it a lot until my younger brother died. He was not only my brother but my best friend. When we were younger we did a lot together. He was the outgoing one. The one who made and kept friends easily. I was the shy one, the one who was much more content watching than participating in things.
When my brother died I was devastated. He was only 44 years old but cancer doesn’t care about that. Cancer doesn’t care that he had so much to live for. That was over nine years ago, at the time I didn’t, couldn’t believe it when everyone said time heals. It does, or at least it makes the pain less.
My real belief in angels started on the day of my brother’s funeral. Through, what I suppose was a technical mistake, my name was left off of all the funeral notices. Normally that wouldn’t have bothered me much. I like staying in the background, but this was my brother. It hurt, a lot to be left out. During the funeral when they read the names of the surviving family members and I wasn’t mentioned, all around me the rest of family whispered that I had been left out. That didn’t help. I picked up a few local papers on the way home from the funeral, curiosity I needed to know if I had been listed in those notices. I hadn’t. It was too much, when I got home I thrust the papers at my older brother and fled upstairs to cry my eyes out. He was so upset he ran back to get our mother. She was still at the church talking to friends. It took us weeks to find those papers. He didn’t want me upset so he hid them under a cushion in a chair.
What I didn’t realize at the time was that my younger brother was there, he was watching out for me. Even though I was really upset leaving the church I noticed a quarter on the sidewalk. Not to extraordinary, but I picked it up. After I glanced through the papers and noticed my missing name, I found another quarter on the road. I picked it up. Walking the two blocks from the church to our house I found several more quarters. I picked them up also.
Rushing up the driveway, I found four more quarters, all in a row waiting for me. I didn’t think about them. I picked them up and put them in my pocket with the other quarters.
Much later I was watching something on TV about how loved ones keep in contact once they had passed on. One of the things they mentioned was coins. They like to leave us coins. My brother leaves me quarters. Over the years there have been less quarters in my path, but he still leaves them for me. When I have those days when I really miss him or need to talk to him, I find a quarter.
A friend recently lost her father to cancer. She had known my brother in school. She was having a really difficult time facing the reality that her father was dying. I was walking to the gym, we went to the same one but not usually at the same time. Occasionally we’d see each other there, but not often. Then one day on my way there I found a quarter. They just seem to be there when I need them. It doesn’t matter how many people have passed that way before me, when I look down there it is. I picked it up knowing instinctively that it was for our friend. My brother wanted her to know that everything would be okay.
I explained to her about the quarters, gave her the one I found. Later she said it got her through some rough times. It helps to know that those we love still watch over us and know what we are going through.
The quarters don’t hurt either. I always put my brother’s quarters in a special bank. Every year to raise money for the cancer fund they have an all night event where you can buy white paper bags and decorate them in memory of your lost ones or in honor of cancer survivors They light candles in the bag and line the walkway for people to read them. I use the quarters to buy a bag for my brother and my sister each year. We lost them eight months apart to cancer.
Everyone should be lucky enough to have a guardian angel who leaves quarters. That is when he isn’t too busy playing hockey among the clouds and teaching the little angels how to play cloud baseball and hockey.