Paul was a young man living in a country called Bosnia and Herzegovina. Between 1992 and 1995 the country was torn by international armed conflict called The Bosnian War. Paul was devastated to see the destruction of the country he loved.
At the time, Paul was dating a young woman of his age named Gina. They had a plan of starting a family and spending the rest of their lives together. They were madly in love with each other. But they also agreed the war-torn country was not a good place to start a family.
Paul and Gina pooled all their money together and bought 2 one-way tickets to the United States to escape from the war and start a new life. In the United States, the couple immediately encountered new problems.
They had no relatives, no money, no jobs, and didn’t speak English very well. However, they were very grateful that they were far away from bullets and bombs.
They kept believing and worked very hard. Paul found a job as a truck driver at a busy port and Gina found a job at a local post office. After several years of hard work they finally had enough savings to purchase their own home.
Paul and Gina were the happiest couple on the planet. They were living the American dream only a few could really live.
After purchasing their own home, Paul and Gina decided that was the time to start a family with with children just like what they had been planning. Not long after, they had their first child and they named him Bobby. Soon after, a baby girl named Beth was born.
After the children were born, Gina decided to be a stay-home-mom to take care of the kids and Paul couldn’t be more supportive. He worked really hard to make sure his family had everything they needed to live a happy live.
The kids grew up fast and they kept Gina busy running the households when Paul was working hard at the port. However, they always had time to have dinner together every night and they bonded to be a very happy family. They taught good morals to their kids.
After several years, Bobby and Beth moved to different cities for college leaving Paul and Gina all by themselves. Gina started to feel lonely because she was used to having the children with her all day. She started to get depressed and sick.
Paul loved his wife unconditionally. He was always by her side and making sure everything was going to be alright. However, things get worse when the doctor diagnosed Gina with breast cancer.
Again, Paul kept his positive attitude and went to every doctor appointment and chemotherapy treatment for years and was always by his wife’s side.
She Signed My Dollar Bill
During this time, Paul promised to Gina that he’s always there for her and that she’s the only one in his heart. The couple then signed their name on a piece of one dollar bill. Gina would keep Paul’s one dollar bill and Paul would keep Gina’s one dollar bill.
Years go by and Gina’s cancer was growing. Not long after, Gina passed away because of the terrible disease. Paul was lonely. Suddenly, Gina was not there in with him.
On a sunny Saturday afternoon Paul went to a garage sale at the church parking lot close to where he lived. He picked up a picture frame to display a picture of his grand-daughter on his desk. Accidentally, he spent the dollar bill signed by his late wife Gina.
Paul was devastated. The dollar bill had been with him for more than 10 years and he just gave it away to another person. He felt a piece of him went away and that he let go one of his wife’s memories.
Losing the dollar bill affected Paul’s life in a way. He wasn’t as cheerful as he was. He wasn’t smiling as often as he was. Days turned into weeks, weeks turned into months, and months turned into years.
One day, Paul and his grand-daughter, Amy were walking down the street from the library. The sun was out and it was a hot day. Amy begged her grandpa to stop at the store to buy an ice cream or slurpee.
At first Paul said no, but after a while he didn’t have the heart to let his grand-daughter dehydrate on their way home. So they stopped to buy some ice cream.
After getting some change back from the cashier, Paul could not believe what he was seeing. It was the one dollar bill with Gina’s signature on it. It was the same dollar bill that he lost 5 years ago at the garage sale.
At first, Amy didn’t believe it was the same dollar bill that had been gone 5 years ago but after matching the signature on the bill to Gina’s hand writing, it was obvious it was her grandmother’s signature.
The day after, Paul and Amy went to Gina’s tomb and they told Gina they had found her dollar bill back!
Paul is ecstatic and he is happy again. That dollar bill means everything to Paul. All the memories from their war-torn motherland to here in the US with their grand children. Paul is still living his dream.
Moral of the story is no one can take away what’s yours.
Note: Based on true inspirational story by Peter Billelo.