Michelle McDougal recounted a sublime story that suggests life after death in a submission to the inspirational and anecdotal website Love What Matters. As she explained, her final request to her dying grandmother had been for the ailing woman to send her pennies when she got to Heaven. What followed in the time soon after was amazing and miraculous.
McDougal had been born on her grandmother’s birthday, she shared, and the pair had always had a special bond.
“From day one my nana and I had a very close relationship,” she wrote. “I was born on her 39th birthday on a cold December morning. The first of her 7 grandchildren. We shared 45 birthdays together, usually with 2 cakes side-by-side.”
She went on to explain that growing up, her “Nana” would do anything to keep her and her family happy, healthy, and well loved. So naturally, McDougal was heartbroken when after a successful first battle with cancer, Nana was diagnosed a second time and given a grim prognosis by doctors.
“That world came crashing down when she was diagnosed with cancer,” McDougal said. “But in true Nana fashion, she fought hard and after 2 years was given a clean bill of health. So we were all quite surprised when the doctor said her cancer had come back and there was nothing they could do for her.”
The family took turns sitting by Nana’s bed in her final weeks, but McDougal explained she was the one sitting with her grandmother on her “very last good night”—and that the pair had an unforgettable conversation. She shared:
“We laughed and ate Chinese food while watching some of her favorite shows and talked about the non profit I was starting in her honor called Smile Through The Storm. When we were finished, I held her hand and said, ‘Nana, when you get to heaven please send me lots of pennies so I know you’re still near.’ She laughed and said, ‘Okay, Mit.’”
It was just two days after that conversation that Nana passed away, and it wasn’t long after that when, amazingly, McDougal began to find pennies everywhere—and not just a few. “Hundreds,” she wrote, to which she would whisper, “Thank you nana, I love you,” after picking up each one.
Eventually, McDougal realized that she needed to do something with all of the “pennies from Heaven.” Four years after her Nana’s passing, McDougal and her husband screwed together some old barn boards and started to glue the pennies—eventually forming a giant heart design representing just how significant all of the tiny copper coins were to the granddaughter.
“Memories of Nana quickly flooded my mind as tears filled my eyes. A heart. It had to be a heart because what else is there to symbolize such deep love?” said McDougal, explaining how she came up with the design for the heart.
Now, the pennies aren’t stuck in a mason jar sitting on a shelf—and for McDougal, it’s a beautiful reminder of the love she experienced, since ever she could remember, that will now live on adorning her home.