Today would have been the 48th anniversary of my marriage to Hank Estes. So understandably he has been on my mind today. I want to focus on the good memories and look upon the emotional and physical problems he had with compassion.
Remembering the first day of ninth grade. I was in front of the main building talking with some friends. I will never forget seeing this tall, long legged, dark auburn haired guy walking up to where I was. I found out my friends were from his church.
We dated for 3 years from ninth through twelfth grade. He wooed me with gifts, records, boat trips with his family to the lake, poetry, letters of love and pet names. He was my first serious boyfriend.
After the twelfth grade he went to North Carolina State University and I started my three years of nursing school. We stayed in close touch except for 7 months when we had to break up for a while. When we just couldn’t stand not being together, we reconnected and he proposed to me. We had fun dating, writing letters to each other and getting to know each other before we married. We married the summer after he graduated in May with his Bachelors Degree in the Arts.
Then we moved to New Orleans where he attended New Orleans Baptist Seminary and earned his Masters of Divinity and his Doctorate in Old Testament Theology.
During our marriage we had some great times and memories together. One of which was having our first son, after four years of infertility. He was so wonderful to me while I was pregnant and attended Lamaze classes with me and coached me through the natural childbirth of our son. More great memories were watching our son grow up and befriend a young man, whom we both grew quickly to love. I later adopted that friend as my second son after his parents’ and my husband’s deaths. We had many stressful episodes in our lives but we got through them. I’ve written enough about them. In an effort to put the painful feelings behind and focus on the positive parts of our relationship in honor of our anniversary.
Thirty seven years of: moving; different jobs, many of which brought him disappointments; a “literal” exploded disc in his back; worsening health; a stroke; severe diabetes and its complications; a surgery gone wrong and finally severe heart failure, he passed away August 5, 2009.
After about two years I developed back pain and sciatica after 34 years of nursing. After two years of disability and applications to work less back stressing jobs, I finally realized I wouldn’t be hired. In part I believe because of my back and because of my age. It all worked out for the best though.
Twelve years after my husband’s death I am happy; my back is stabilized (but I have to be careful). I have a good home, two awesome sons and two wonderful daughters in law, and three grandchildren! (Oh, and my cat, Norie.) I have three friends who mean so very much to me and I am thankful for my life.
So today I had Hank on my mind but only the sweet memories from our early years together. I was on the way to see a friend who lives in North Raleigh when I noticed that the front window was dirty and streaky so I stopped at a filling station to get some paper towels to clean the streaky passenger side of the windshield.
As I opened my car door for some reason I looked down and saw a shiny penny with the bottom side up. The symbol on the back was one I had not noticed before. Since I had been told that finding a shiny penny meant someone in heaven (a deceased loved one, an angel, or God) sent it to remind me that I am loved, I wondered if maybe my husband had found peace in the afterlife and still loved me now that his earthly body and soul had found healing in heaven. Well, that was nice if it’s true, but it was only one penny.
I found some sturdy napkins and decided to give them a try on the windshield. As I came to the store’s automatic opening door, I looked down and saw another shiny, copper penny with the back side up and the same different symbols on the back. This was a very unusual occurrence for me to find two shiny pennies in excellent condition, with the same emblems and with the same side up within minutes of each other.
I can’t help but believe this might have been a way of letting me know something. Because of the significance of the date, the two pennies being so alike and within minutes of each other, I believe that I was being told that I was loved by my deceased husband, because of the facts that he had been on my mind today and was letting me know he may have been thinking of me too.