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When you lose someone you love, you gain an angel you know. The pain and suffering of being separated from your beloved are deeply distressing. It seems as if there is no color left in life and everything has just begun to fade. Your heart can literally feel the pain and your eyes water. This loss becomes even more excruciating when you face it at old age, the age where you need the support and presence of your partner, your spouse the most. Peter Bilello, an 86-year old man had to face a similar experience in life when his wife passed away. His world too came to an end with his spouse leaving it.
But, then one fine day he finds a $1 bill that gave him this old man a shiver down his spine. The words written over it stunned him to the core. What did the ink read?
Peter couldn’t believe what he just saw. He held the bill a little closer and saw it carefully. Tears rolled down his eyes. He was sobbing. He looked at the sky above him and smiled in pain. His grand-daughter held his hand tightly and tried to calm him down, but maybe it was something that would not help the old man then.
Over that bill were scribbled some words, the blue ink was in his departed beloved’s handwriting. Almost after five years of him losing her, finding a piece that was hers made him emotional. He was depressed and for once more broken. A mere piece of paper, a one dollar bill brought back with it the memories which cost more than billions rather were priceless to him.
Suddenly, Peter was taken back to those golden days when he and his wife would be walking down together, lost in each other eyes and cherishing their togetherness. Memories came flashing back to him and every incident made him confirm that though he has lost her physically, she was still with him in some way or the other.
How It Began
Peter Bilello, eighty-six in age recalls how unwilling he was when back in the year 1964, his mom insisted him to get married. He went on a holiday to his parents’ place and had never expected that it would turn out to be the most memorable one.
His mom would question him over his relationship status. She was eager for her son to get married and was even more enthusiastic about having grandchildren. She would often say to Peter, “why are you single until now?” As Peter never had an answer to it, he would choose silence as a weapon. But, his mother won’t stop and decided to take the matter in her hands.
Peter’s mother was stubborn when it came to getting her son hitched. She even had a girl on the mind, whom she thought was a perfect one for her son. However, Peter wasn’t really interested in her. But just to calm his mom, he went on a date with that girl and everything just changed, changed forever.
The girl was Grace Caruso. She was slim and fair in complexion. She had short hair and a pleasing smile. She was a perfect example of sheer beauty. Anyone who would see her smiling will instantly fall in love with her. And Peter fell prey to Grace’s charm…
Love At First Sight
Peter who once was strictly against his mom’s wish to get married, fell in love with Grace the moment he saw her. And it was no different her side. The duo kept on talking for hours on their very first date. They were enjoying each other’s company and did not realize when a casual date blossomed the flowers of love amongst them. But was it meant to last?
Age - Just A Number
When it comes to love, people often say that it is blind. Peter was glad that in his case, his mom was involved. Peter was then 32 in age while Grace was only 23 years old. Despite the age gap, they both shared amazing chemistry. And when everything seemed to work well, there was nothing that could hold them back from tying the knot.
Without much ado, the couple tied the knot. It was in the year 1964 itself that these two souls united into one. They were young and happy. They were excited about their marital phase. But who knew then that this love story will come to a tragic end that will leave Peter into pieces.
Just After Her
After getting married, Peter and Grace shifted to Connecticut. They now wanted to have a family of their own. With every passing day, their love seems to go deeper and deeper. Peter recalls, “Wherever my wife would go, I go,” To them, everything was just perfect until old age stepped in and Grace had to face some serious challenges in life.
Peter and Grace gave birth to two kids who further grew up and got married and had kids of their own. They loved their 4 grandchildren with whom they would often go out for family outings. Unfortunately, not all stories have a happy ending and Peter and Grace’s was one of them.
In the year 2001, Grace fell severely ill. She would have body pain and would often be restless. She was diagnosed with cancer. This news came shocking to Peter. He couldn’t bear it. He knew he had to stay strong for his wife. And he stood by her like her backbone. Isn’t that just beautiful?
Grace was detected with an early stage of cancer, thus, there were still chances of her survival. Peter always stood optimistic and accompanied her in all her chemo, radiation sessions and the surgeries. Grace could be seen recovering, she was lucky but only for a short while…
Peter was ecstatic to realize that Grace has left behind her Cancer. Peter had a deep sigh of relief that his beloved will be there with him. But three years down the line, Grace’s cancer returned. And this time Peter was trembling with the fear.
By Her Side
With wet eyes, in an interview, Peter said, “She goes to chemo, I sit down next to her. And coming home, she lay down on the couch, she’s very sick after the chemo and [I] do all the work in the house.” He made sure that he was by her side always at all the time. As her health was falling day by day, one day he came up with an idea.
Peter wanted to keep Grace and her memories with her, with him forever. Thus, he came up with an idea. An idea which ought to keep both of them together, but unfortunately even this idea didn’t let the couple stay together. It was really hard for Peter. One can’t just help and only pity Peter.
In the month of June 2014, Peter and Grace celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. They both were extremely happy to have achieved this milestone. But, the happiness did not last long as in the month of November, Grace bid adieu to this world leaving Peter all alone and broken. But…
5 Years Later
Peter lived all hopeless and silent after his partition from Grace. He tried to divert his attention to his grandchildren and live happily but it wasn’t easy. And as some may call, 5 years after her death, Grace right up from heaven gave Peter the hints that she still is there with her darling husband. How was this possible?
The idea which Peter proposed years back to keep Grace with him forever was that the couple decided to sign a one dollar bill and keep it with one another in their wallet and cherish the presence of their partner with each other forever. However, Peter made an accidental mistake which bore fruit years later.
The one dollar bill was kept safely with them, but just after a year of they signing it, Peter accidentally spent that particular bill. And when he realized that he had lost it, he did his best to own it back but couldn’t ever lay his hands over that. He was always guilty of making this blunder, and when Grace passed away this mistake gave him more pain. Yet, it was time for fate to play its game.
It was 2019, and Peter went with his grand-daughter Ashley to nearby Subway for lunch. Ashley places the order and pays $10 at the counter. She takes the change and hands it over to Peter. And when Peter saw the change she got him, Peter couldn’t just believe what he saw.
Amongst the bills Ashley got as change, one bill, in particular, caught Peter’s eyes. He realized that one of those dollars was signed, and a signature he was quite familiar with. He had a closer look at it and gasps at the discovery. It was the one dollar bill that Grace had signed for him and he had accidentally spent years back.
Peter couldn’t stop crying. The probability that he would ever be able to reunite with that One dollar bill was one in a million and now that the bill was right in his hands, his happiness knew no boundaries. Ashley saw her grandfather crying and couldn’t resist and ask him about the matter.
To Peter, it was no less than a miracle. He lost this bill some years back and now it was again with him. The bill would have been handed over to so many hands, so many people would have held it and now it has fallen back into the hands of its true owner, that too at the time when he needed it the most. Peter showed it to Ashley who was equally surprised.
When Peter showed the bill to Ashley she couldn’t believe that the bill her grandfather spent, she got him back that. She says, “I didn’t see it at first because I was just giving him back the change. Then when he showed me, at first you didn’t believe it, but you still wanted to. But then when he got home, you can look at the signature to see how they matched up.”
Cry And Cry
Ashley went emotional finding her grandfather this weak. She went on to crying witnessing how much does his grandpa loved his grandmom. She recalls, “We started to cry. We were so happy to get the dollar back”. The happiness and satisfaction on his face was just bliss. And Peter decided to do something even more beautiful now.
Peter had often visited Grace’s grave after she left this world. He would often go there and sit near her for hours. This gave him some peace. He would share with her everything, his pain, his happiness. And the reuniting with the bill she signed was a piece of news he couldn’t wait to share with her.
Is This You?
Peter wanted to ask Grace that was it her who had done all this? The symbol of their love and togetherness had just made its way back to him. He wanted to share his happiness with his beloved. He was just elated and wanted to meet Grace.
“Grace I Got It Back”
Peter told Ashley that they will be heading to the cemetery right away and show Grace that the bill had miraculously returned to him. He said, ” I will tell Nonna, my wife, that we got the dollar back,”. Peter recalls, “I showed the dollar to my wife and said, ‘Grace, look, I got your dollar back.’”
Peter at the grave said, “Nobody’s gonna get that dollar anymore. No way.” The old man couldn’t hold it any longer and bursts into tears. He promises to Grace that this time he will keep this bill in a safe and ensure that this is safe and is not spent.
Somewhere Peter was sure that it was Grace who has helped him in reuniting with this lost bill. The reunion with this bill for once again gave Peter the reason to live happily in life. The place which was empty in his heart after Grace left him was now filled with her signed bill, the symbol of their love.
She Is Around
Owning the bill, itself made Peter feel that Grace was still around him, she has never left him. She was looking at him somewhere from the heaven above. He believes that she is ensuring that he is happy and safe and is always with him in his tough time as he was there for her.
Peter and Grace’s love story is a perfect example of “forever”. Howsoever old a couple may get, their love always stays young. It is the bond which stays amongst them forever. With wrinkled hands and gray hair, the love grows deep and deep and never fades away.
Though Grace wasn’t physically present with Peter, she made sure he could feel her around. We hope that Peter continues to stay happy and love Grace the way he had been doing till now. May the two souls reunite once again sometime in the heavenly abode.