After dropping off some books at a local bookstore here in Naperville, I had about fifteen minutes with nothing to do before my next errand. I thought I would take a walk and headed over to Riverwalk. At what was once the east end of the Riverwalk, there is a fountain. Earlier that morning on my run I had found a penny and now as I walked by the fountain, I found another one. I knew that this penny belonged in the fountain although I’m not sure if someone missed when throwing it in or if it dropped out of a purse. I picked it up and was going to toss it into the fountain when I was saw it was a 1993 penny. The year my sister died.
My first thought was to keep it. As I walked away, though, I realized it was silly to keep that coin. I don’t have any sense of sadness over Denise’s death now because of the strong connection I still feel to her. I don’t believe I need to be nostalgic for the year she died. There is another fountain, the ball fountain, just a half block west of the first. With a man and his dog and a woman on her cell phone watching from nearby benches (probably because I got up on the short ledge of the fountain), I made a wish, and lobbed the penny into the spraying water.
It’s about forging ahead, not holding onto a piece of the past that doesn’t define how I’m going to get where I’m going.
Michelle Linn-Gust, Ph.D., is an international author and speaker about finding hope after loss and change. She is the author of several books including Rocky Roads: The Journeys of Families through Suicide Grief and Ginger's Gift: Hope and Healing Through Dog Companionship. Her first book, based on the suicide of her younger sister Denise, Do They Have Bad Days in Heaven? Surviving the Suicide Loss of a Si..., inspired siblings around the world in their survival after a loved one’s suicide. She is the President of the American Association of Suicidology and lives in Albuquerque, N.M. Read more about Michelle at www.michellelinngust.com.