Some people don’t believe in spirits, but I do. It all began when I was 11.
My Grandma lived in the granny flat that my father had built adjoining my childhood home. She was a tall, cheeky woman who, from time to time, had either a blue or a purple rinse that was held in perfect place by her Cedel hair spray. Although she was of a formidable stature her laughter was infectious and disarming and we spent many afternoons together after school playing scrabble and cards. She was a dreadful cheat and made awful coffee, but she always made me laugh, often letting me sit at her dresser trying on her jewellery and dabbing my nose with her translucent powder. She would smile at me and tell me I looked pretty. I loved her deeply.
When I was 11, she passed away. I was inconsolable and cried so hard that I thought my chest would never stop aching. I missed her so much. One day after school, I fell asleep in the games room by the granny flat. I was woken after dark by a firm and insistent tap on my shoulder. Startled, I jumped up looking around for one of my brothers playing a trick on me, but upon closer inspection found myself to be the only one home. It terrified me.
Not long afterwards Grandma’s jewellery was being moved about from Mum’s room in the house onto the dresser in the granny flat. I insisted that it was Grandma, because she so loved to wear it, but Mum told me ‘Don’t tell stories and try to be more careful with her jewellery, you don’t want to lose it!’. On rainy days I’d often catch a glimpse of Grandma’s reflection in the windows, and the feeling of her presence that had once scared me, became a comfort. There were many occasions when I would argue with my Father that spirits and ghosts were real and he would smile and say I just had an ‘active imagination’. But I knew the truth.
Six years after Dad passed away my marriage had broken down and I’d all but given up music. I left my husband, packed up a few things in boxes and moved from my three bedroom home into a one bedroom flat in Thornton. Unpacking, I kept finding loose change scattered throughout the boxes, mostly 5 cent pieces, which was strange as I didn’t recall packing them, but my father had always told me ‘never throw away money, it’s bad luck!’ so I squirrelled them away in a jar on the kitchen bench.
Over the next weeks and months the 5 cent pieces continued to appear. I’d get out of my car to find one on the bitumen, I’d pick it up and put in in the ash tray, then later I’d get back into my car only to find another on the drivers seat, once again I’d pick it up and put it in the ash tray. Before long I had about half a dozen in the car not to mention the coin collection in my flat.
I didn’t think much of it until the day I happened to visit a psychic.
One morning I went for a drive down to the NSW Central Coast. I was lonely and miserable. My marriage had failed and the distance between myself and my family in Queensland had never seemed greater, so much so that I was seriously considering moving back home with my tail between my legs. Walking around Gosford I noticed a sign; “$40 Psychic Reading”, it was the last thing I could afford at the time but I was looking for some distraction.
Having handed over my money and sat across the table from the Psychic for ten minutes I was becoming unimpressed with her vague and generalised ‘predictions’ and my mind started to drift towards the bills I wasn’t going to be able to pay because of my impulsive visit, that was until she said, ‘Five cent pieces, you keep finding them?’ It was such an unexpected question that I was stunned, so she repeated herself, ‘Do you keep finding 5 cent pieces?’. “Ah, yes’ I responded, intrigued. ‘Well, It’s your Dad. He wants you to know he’s with you when you’re feeling alone’.
It wasn’t the first time my father had paid us a visit from ‘beyond the veil’, he was known to turn my sleeping Mum’s bedside lamp on at his usual waking time of 4am in the morning, and the smell of his pipe smoke appeared and lingered long after his funeral, but It had been a long time since I’d felt his presence and now apparently he was showering me from ‘the other side’ with five cent pieces? I walked away from the reading perplexed.
5 cent pieces seemed an odd choice, until I really considered their meaning. I think it was Dad’s way of saying that I could make my own luck, and his way of reminding me that he would always be watching out for me. So, I stuck it out in my little flat in NSW, took up my musical career again and went out on the road touring with Beccy Cole.
To this day I still find five cent pieces in the most unlikely of places, and I always pick them up for safekeeping. They remind me never to take anything for granted, no matter how small, and always to be mindful that someone is watching over me.
Some people don’t believe in spirits, but I do. And in the true value of the humble 5 cent piece.