The value of a $2 bill? Kindness, thoughtfulness and a link to my late grandma | Opinion

·3 min read

I was in fifth grade and my family had recently relocated to Georgia when I learned that a simple act of kindness can reverberate for years. I made that discovery shortly after my Grandma Ann passed away from cancer.

I was extremely close to Grandma Ann. She cheered me on when I earned an ''A'' on a paper, congratulated me when I landed a part in a show and gave me her unsparing support from the sidelines of my soccer games.

Filled to the brim with cheerfulness and warmth, her character was like a jar full of sunshine. She was a stranger to no one and a friend to everyone. Her delight in life was the reason I spent so much time with her.

She passed away less than a year after we arrived in Georgia. My family was at a loss. For the first time in my life I experienced a truly difficult season. I missed going downstairs to tell her about my day. I missed talking with her, eating with her and hearing her advice. The house suddenly felt very empty. Her death, combined with the difficulty of adjusting to a new school and town, was a lot for my fifth-grade self to handle.

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One day, within weeks of my grandmother’s passing, my mom handed me a letter that had come in the mail. As an excited 11-year-old, I snatched the envelope and quickly tore it open, eager to discover what was inside. When I opened the card, a $2 bill fluttered onto the floor.

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The letter was from a woman named Opal, one of my grandmother’s closest friends. She recounted the beauties of my grandma’s life, told how much she missed her and said she hoped I was doing well.

Lydia Coffman
Lydia Coffman

And then she told me about the $2 bill. Like my grandma, she said, a $2 bill is something special that cannot be found just anywhere. And like a $2 bill, she continued, my cousin and I were the two most special people in my grandma’s life.

As I read these words, I felt as though a small piece of Grandma Ann was there with me. Her memory danced between the lines of ink fixed on the page.

Little did I know that this would be the first of many cards from Opal, and each and every card would contain a $2 bill.

The loss of my grandmother was painful, but Opal’s thoughtful letters eased the pain. Every time I opened one of her envelopes, I felt as though I was tapping into a little sliver of Grandma Ann’s warmth.

And today, when I see a $2 bill, I remember not only the inner beauty of my grandmother but also the inner beauty of the thoughtful woman named Opal whose simple acts of kindness made such a difference in my life.

Lydia Coffman, an Atlanta resident, is a first-year student at Lipscomb University in Nashville.

This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: The value of a $2 bill? Kindness and a link to my late grandma

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