It All Adds Up

We often look for signs after a loved one dies. Here’s a cool story about movies, loose change and girls’ day out. Written by Judy Dill of Blanchester, Ohio, it appeared in the April 2010 issue of Guideposts.

Tom, my second husband, had a deep appreciation for the bond I had with my grown daughter from my first marriage. He loved treating Kris and me to a girls’ day out and got a kick out of the giggle fits we got into when we recounted our day for him. He’d have to join us one day, we said. Shortly after we were married, he was diagnosed with melanoma. The treatments left him too weak to go out with us, but he never stopped exhorting us to have a good time. Two days shy of our second anniversary, he passed away. I felt a part of me had died too, that joy had gone from my life.

A few weeks after the funeral I tried to clean out Tom’s dresser drawers. I thought I could handle it, but I was wrong. These were his favorite shirts, sweaters. Even a drawer full of change he’d emptied from his pockets made my heart ache. I sorted the coins, my eyes blurred with tears. Kris knew I needed a break. “Let’s get out of the house, Mom,” she urged. “We’ll spend the day together. A girls’ day out.” A movie, dinner, something to get my mind off my grief.

We went to the bank to exchange the coins from Tom’s drawer, then headed over to the theater. We bought two tickets, some snacks and drinks. “Twenty eight dollars,” the cashier announced.

Wow! “When did a trip to the movies get so expensive?” I exclaimed.

Kris giggled. “It’s not five cents for a double feature anymore, Mom.”

The movie helped push my thoughts elsewhere for a while. Afterward, we took Kris’s dogs to the park and later we ate dinner at a casual restaurant. Spending the day with Kris was exactly what I needed. I just wished Tom could have been a part of it. I got the check and tacked on a nice tip for our waiter. It came to thirty-eight dollars and thirty cents in total. As we walked to the car, a thought stopped me in my tracks. No, it can’t be…

“What is it, Mom?” Kris asked. I reached into my pocket and pulled out the receipt from the bank. The coins in Tom’s drawer added up to sixty-six dollars…and thirty cents. For the first time since the funeral, I felt joy. I looked up toward the darkening sky, filling up slowly with stars. “Thanks, Tom,” I said, “for treating us one more time.”

Click here to view all the Guideposts stories on this blog.


Phil is the author of Through God’s Eyes: Finding Peace and Purpose in a Troubled World, a comprehensive guide to living a spiritual life. Who will benefit from reading it?

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6 Responses to “It All Adds Up”

  1. Kim Wencl Says:

    I just read this story earlier this morning before I got on my computer. Yesterday I paid my phone bill of $29.62 and later that afternoon I went to Bath & Body works and bought an assortment of stuff. The cashier rang it up and it came to … $29.62! I verified the total again with the cashier to be sure I had heard her correctly. I don’t think this was some big message or anything, but I did think it interesting that the two totals matched exactly … and then this morning to read (twice) a story of connection to the other side with matching sums of money was …

  2. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Interesting indeed, Kim! I like stories like that!

  3. ArrVee Says:


    to add to the interesting-ness of it is that if you invert 29.62 (i.e. turn it clockwise 180 degrees), it still reads 29.62 (albeit with a slightly less readable “2”).

  4. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Very clever, ArrVee! I like it!

  5. Kim Wencl Says:

    Oh yah … never thought about that – very interesting as well ArrVee! To add to that my youngest daughter’s name is Anna, which is spelled the same frontwards and backwards!

  6. Phil Bolsta Says:

    You’re a walking, talking palindrome, Kim!

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