Before Nana's Death, Granddaughter Asks for Pennies from 'Heaven.' Now She Has Hundreds


On the last night Michelle McDougal spent with her beloved Nana, she asked her to send little gifts “from Heaven.” Now she finds them in the strangest places.

Michelle was born on her Nana’s 39th birthday and that was only the beginning of their extremely close relationship. The pair was able to share 45 birthdays together!

Over the years, they went on camping trips, shopping trips, and played many card games, but Michelle cherishes the slower moments the most.

“My favorite times with my Nana were those quiet moments where we could just sit and talk. Whether in person or on the phone, we’d talked about everything,” she said.

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Michelle always knew that her Nana cared for her, but learned just how much when her grandfather told her about the sacrifices she made. Michelle had contracted pneumonia when she was only 10 years old and almost died. The family came together to pay for an in-home nurse to take care of her.

Michelle’s grandfather told her years later, “Mit, your Nana worked triple shifts in the shoe shop to help your mother pay for that nurse. She would come home with her fingers bleeding from sewing so many shoes. She’d quickly wash and then run right to you, to make sure you were okay. That’s how much she loves you.”

She never confirmed the story because Michelle knew that her Nana wouldn’t want the credit. She loved her Nana dearly and knew that she loved her back.

The two had a beautiful bond that seemed like it could never be shaken, but Michelle said her world “came crashing down” the day her Nana was diagnosed with cancer.

After two years of fighting, the doctors said that she was free of cancer! The family was relieved, but when cancer comes back, it comes back with a vengeance.

After her relapse, doctors said that treatment would no longer be effective. Michelle, her mother, her cousin, and two of her aunts decided to take turns spending the night with her Nana during her last days.

Michelle was able to have a few more of those “quiet moments” she cherished so dearly. On Nana’s last “good night,” the two ate Chinese food, watched some of Nana’s favorite TV shows, and laughed.

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Toward the end of the night, Michelle looked at her Nana and said, “Nana, when you get to heaven please send me lots of pennies so I know you’re still near.” Nana just laughed and agreed to do so.

She passed away two nights later.

Since then, Michelle has found hundreds of pennies, some, in odd places. “I’ve found pennies in the strangest places. A room that was just vacuumed. In the shower. In a box that contained an ornament I had given her,” she said.

Every time she finds a new one, she picks it up and whispers, “Thank you Nana, I love you.” She has kept every single penny she found, storing them in a large Mason jar.

She knew she wanted to display them and four years after her Nana’s death, Michelle thought of the perfect project.

Michelle’s husband helped her build a board made out of old barn doors so that she could glue some of her pennies into a heart shape. She said, “It had to be a heart because what else is there to symbolize such deep love?”

Then she found a card her Nana had given her years before and scanned her signature onto her computer. She used her Cricut machine to print a foil cut out of the words, “Love & Kisses Nana.”

Michelle said that as she built this beautiful memorial tears spilled down her face, but love filled her heart.

She still continues to find pennies to this day and each time she stumbles across a new one, she smiles and thanks her beloved Nana for the little reminder.

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Kayla has been a staff writer for The Western Journal since 2018.
Kayla Kunkel began writing for The Western Journal in 2018.
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