Momma’s Penny

We knew the day was drawing near, but it came at a bad time. Sherry’s momma, Nell King, left us early this morning, and is now wrapped in the arms of Jesus. It’s bittersweet for those who knew and loved her, because, first of all, she’s been sick for a long time, and the last few weeks—maybe months—have not been easy; a lot of pain, and just being really sick day in and day out. So, the good thing is she’s no longer suffering, but the bad thing is, Sherry and her family will no longer get to see her and talk to her.

Death is a hard thing to deal with, especially when it’s someone we’ve known and loved our entire life. I have a little story I feel the need to share about this, though, and I hope it brings a little peace and comfort to all those who are shedding those bittersweet tears today.


It isn’t often Sherry and I are apart, but this is one of those times. I’m in Buckeye, Arizona visiting some old friends, and Sherry is at a professional conference in Atlantic City. When my phone rang at about 4:45 this morning, I didn’t even have to look at the caller ID to know it was Sherry, and know what she was going to say; “It’s Momma.” 

We only talked for a minute; words are hard to get past that lump in your throat at these times, and after I hung up, I got dressed and went for a walk. I wished I could be there with Sherry, so she could literally cry on my shoulder, but there was nothing we could do but deal with the situation the best we could.

As I walked, I suddenly realized the date, and I stopped in my tracks. Yesterday was the forty-fifth anniversary of the death of my little brother, Billy. It’s a date I don’t celebrate or dwell on, but it and Billy do occasionally come to mind, and as you might expect, a myriad of emotions and memories rush through my mind when they do. This time it was a bit different.

I silently sent up a message to Billy, telling him Nell should be there by now, and asked if he could find her and welcome her with a big hug.

That was it; a simple request; a prayer of sorts, and one I knew I really didn’t even have to submit. I know there were many there to greet Nell as she stepped from this life into one that will be everlasting and free of sickness and pain, and I have no doubt Billy was among those welcoming her home.

And so I continued my morning walk, and when I’d only gone a few steps further, I was not all that surprised at what I saw lying on the ground in front of me. There by the side of the road was a slightly worn penny, and as I bent to pick it up, a smile as big as Texas spread across my face.

For those who don’t know, the following poem is one I wrote shortly after my grandpa passed away some fifteen years ago. When you read it, you’ll understand where that big ol’ smile came from.

We’re going to have to find a special place for Momma’s penny.


Pennies from Heaven


I found a penny today,

Just laying on the ground.

But it’s not just a penny,

This little coin I’ve found.


Found pennies come from heaven.

That’s what my Grandpa told me.

He said “Angels toss them down.”

Oh, how I loved that story.


He said when an angel misses you,

They toss a penny down,

Sometimes just to cheer you up,

To make a smile out of a frown.


So don’t pass by that penny

When you’re feeling blue;

It may be a Penny from Heaven

That an Angel’s tossed to you.


Copyright © 1998 C Mashburn


Rest in peace Momma. You were loved.

(Thank you, Billy)


  1. Sherry Mashburn said

    Thank you, Charlie. This comforts my heart so much,

  2. Gary said

    Sorry to hearof your loss and now the lady is in far better place to rest forever.

  3. Ken said

    Our deepest condolences on your loss Sherry. Love Ken, Jackie, Connor & Taryn

  4. Raivenne said

    My sympathies and prayers to you both.

  5. neenslewy said

    Sympathy to you both. It was 25 years today that we lost my Grandpa to cancer, I was just a child. I spent the afternoon with my Grandma, mum and my two little nephews, funny – my Gran has 2 ornaments (a horse and a dog) that belonged to my Grandpa – they have always been there on her windowsill, I had not noticed. The plants and flowers have always grabbed my attention more, Liam’s delicate fingers picked one up and we all hushed breath and told him it was very precious. He placed it back down with gentle care. My Grandpa must have been there with us. Just a little way to let us know.

    Your poem was wonderful – thank you.

  6. Mikael said

    Man… I’m sorry for your loss. But that is a really sweet poem. I will definitely be thinking of that the next time I find a penny. Sending hugs!

  7. heidibarnes11 said

    I have not heard of that penny thought. I will have to remember it the next time I see one. I am sorry for your family’s loss. It is hard when those who have been with us for so long are no longer here to hold, but even though we may not remember the exact sound of their voice, they are always in our hearts to talk to.

    I wrote something right after my great-aunt died. I have lost before, but this came to me after she passed.

    • I’m surprised you haven’t heard of the poem. It’s quite well known.
      Thanks for the great comment.

      • heidibarnes11 said

        I have heard of the pick up a penny and you’ll have good luck..or something close to that. I’ll have to keep my eyes open from now on for pennies. 🙂

      • Okay!

  8. This made me think of my mom and the series of random “coincidences” that have occurred since she crossed to the other side. Thank you and my condolences to you and yours.

  9. Oh Charles — this so touched my heart! Both my parents are gone, but they communicate with me through coins: my Dad a found penny; my Mom a found dime; the two together a found quarter. I keep these found monies in a very special box and never spend them…they are gifts from them and I treasure each one found.

  10. Oh charles and Sherry I am rather late in reading this as we to have had a passing over for a church family member and I have been involved with that and not reading daily emails. My heartfelt sympathy for all of you. It is so hard for those left behind, but she is in a much happier place now. God bless and may He comfort you both and give you strength.

  11. hugs man…i am sorry for your loss…my wife lost her mom a few years ago and it was one of the hardest times in my life…we were able to be there together in the last moments though, but i had to tell them to let her go…and right after that she did…hugs to both of you

  12. …sir, may i just tell you.. i was completely touched…. no words to express further… just it… thank you… and i feel sorry for the loss… she is in better hand now with our dear Lord…it is only her physical presence we surrender to the earth but memories of her will live forever in your history… may you & yours find comfort you deserve at this very moment… my heartfelt condolences… 🙂

  13. I am so very sorry, Charles. I know the pain well…and how no words can be of comfort. So I am sending you love and bear hugs. ♥

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