He took a closer look at the $1 bill before he put it away. There was a hint of blue that caught his eye. Could it be? With trembling hands, he lifted the note to his face and inspected it. It seemed impossible, but the proof was undeniable. There was a message written on the bill in blue ink from his dearly departed wife.
Peter Bilello was not the kind of man who believed in the supernatural, and yet, the evidence was staring him right in the face. He thought she was gone forever, but clearly, she was still with him. But as he was reminded of how much he had missed her, he started thinking about how fate had brought them together many years ago.
In 1964, Peter visited his mother at his childhood home in Italy. But he never imagined that fate had planned to change his life forever. His mother was happy to see her son again, but then, she started asking him why he was still single. She even had the audacity to suggest a girl for him to marry, but he hadn’t even met the young woman yet!
35-year-old Peter did his best to ignore his mother’s incessant meddling. But fortunately for him, she continued to persist. She assured him that the girl she had in mind was the right woman for him. So, he decided to humor his mom. As it turns out, the two were a perfect match, and a month later, he married 23-year-old Grace Caruso.
Love at first sight is something people either believe in or they don’t. The concept is like a fairytale, so it’s a bit hard to accept that people can meet once and instantly fall in love. But there’s nothing logical about love. So, when you find the one, you simply go with your gut and your heart, and make your move. But was Peter and Grace’s love meant to be?
Peter and Grace moved to Connecticut that same year to start a family. Their love continued to grow every day. At one point, it seemed as though they were inseparable. “Wherever my wife would go, I go,” Peter shared in an interview. Their love was so strong that it could even transcend the great beyond. This was something he learned after she passed away.
Peter and Grace had two kids, who grew up and had two kids of their own. “She was a very good wife, very good cook, very good mother,” Bilello explained to ABC News. The couple enjoyed a lifetime together and savored every minute of it. They spent it with each other, their children, and their grandchildren. But then, tragedy struck.
In 2001, Grace became ill, so she went to see her doctor, but the prognosis was grim. It turns out that she had cancer. Fortunately, she had Peter, who stayed with her through the chemotherapy, radiation treatments, and the surgeries. Through it all, he made sure he gave his wife all the love and affection she needed. Then, the couple received some amazing news.
Patients diagnosed with early-stage cancer often have a 56 percent chance of surviving for about five years. Unfortunately, patients diagnosed with late-stage cancer only have a 5 percent survival rate. But nothing is written in stone, and that certainly applied to Grace, who was determined to cling to life a little longer.
Grace’s cancer went into remission and Peterwas ecstatic. “I thought it was going to be okay,” he recounted years later with tears in his eyes. But three years later, Grace’s cancer had returned. But Peter was determined to stay by his wife’s side as she underwent treatment once again. He did everything he could to ensure that she remained comfortable and cheerful.
“Me and my wife were together all the time,” he explained in an interview with ABC News. “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.” Grace continued to fight her condition for years, and then, out of the blue, Peter came up with a great idea.
Peter wanted to find a way to symbolize his devotion and his marriage to Grace. So, he did something that was brilliant. He and Grace each signed a $1 bill, and kept both notes in his wallet. It was a testament of their undying love and he meant for the bills to remain together forever, just like them. But that didn’t happen.
A year after he and Grace signed the $1 bills, Peter spent them. It was an accident, and he was devastated by the mistake. He eventually accepted the fact that he would likely never see those symbolic dollar bills ever again. They were lost forever. But Peter had no idea that some things that are lost have a way of returning.
5 years passed and the $1 notes were practically forgotten. In June 2014, Peter and Grace celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. But sadly, Grace passed away a couple of months later. It seemed as though she had been hanging on long enough to celebrate this milestone. But Peter was all alone and devastated. 5 months later, fate intervened.
There’s no scientific evidence that suggests that there’s life after we pass on. But sometimes, loved ones swear that they’ve received messages from beyond the grave. Some even claim they’ve had entire conversations with their dearly departed loved ones. Peter may not have been much of a believer, but then something happened that changed his mind.
To get out of his funk, Peter decided to hang out with his granddaughter, Ashley. Then, he treated her to lunch at a local Subway. He asked her if she wouldn’t mind ordering the sandwiches at the counter. Then he gave her $10 to pay for everything. But when he looked at his change in $1 bills, he saw something that was frankly impossible.
Ashley gave her grandfather the change, but there was one bill that caught his attention right away. There was a signature on the bill, and it was one that he was very familiar with. He took a closer look at it, and was stunned. Grace’s signed $1 bill was in his hand. It had somehow returned to him 5 years after she had accidentally given it away!
It was signed Grace B. The name was unmistakable, and Peter couldn’t believe it. The odds of having the $1 bill returned to him were one in a million. It must have been handled by strangers hundreds of times over the past 5 years, and now it was in the hands of its right owner—Peter. Once he got over his shock, he showed it to Ashley.
“We started to cry. We were so happy to get the dollar back. I never thought I’d get that dollar back,” Peter recounts. “It’s a miracle to get it back after five years,” he explained. “Who knows how many million people got that dollar in their hands.” But at first, Ashley was totally confused.
“I didn’t see it at first because I was just giving him back the change,” explained Ashley. “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.” It was incredible.
There are a lot of reasons why visiting a grave is important to a lot of people. It offers them the perfect time to take a quiet moment to remember their loved ones. It also allows them to have a conversation with the dearly departed and let them in on what’s been happening in the world of the living. It doesn’t matter if the deceased can’t hear them. It’s psychologically soothing to the person who remains behind, like Peter.
Peter had always shared everything with his beloved wife while she was alive. He didn’t see why things should be any different now. The symbol of their love had miraculously come back to him like a boomerang. Was it just some random coincidence, or did his better half have something to do with it from the great beyond?
Peter couldn’t wait to visit his wife at the cemetery and tell her that the $1 bill had returned. “I told my granddaughter, we’re going to go straight to the cemetery and tell Nonna, my wife, that we got the dollar back,” he said. “I showed the dollar to my wife and said, ‘Grace, look, I got your dollar back.’”
“Nobody’s gonna get that dollar anymore,” he said. “No way.” To make good on his promise, Bilello now keeps the precious $1 bill in a safe place, so that it never disappears from his life ever again. And he’s convinced Grace was responsible for this reunion, and is now a believer in the impossible.
It can be difficult to renew your life after the irreconcilable loss of a partner. At one point, you might tell yourself that the fog of grief will lift someday. But then you start to fear that if the grief goes away, a piece of your loved one will go with it. This makes it difficult to let go, which is something Peter understood all too well.
Denial and isolation, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance are said to be the five stages of grief, and Peter undoubtedly went through all of them after his wife passed away. But thankfully, he had his children and grandkids to help him through it. Now, he had the note his wife signed to remind him that nothing can separate him from her love.
There are so many news stories out there that tend to focus on what’s wrong with the world today. It’s nice to see that there are some heartwarming stories being told that bring tears to our eyes, but in a good way. When Grace passed away, happily ever after seemed like a lie Peter had told himself, because the truth was too painful. But it turns out that love is forever, and people wanted to hear more.
People from all over the globe were touched by the couple’s love story. Even the local news stations took interest. The return of the $1 bill made the loss of his dearly departed wife a little more bearable. He also believes that his beloved Grace did this in order to remind him that love conquers all.
The odds of Peter ever seeing that $1 bill that his wife signed were not in his favor. He never expected it to return. But what happened to the second note he signed? He believes it will find its way back to him someday. Who knows? Maybe the $1 bill is in your wallet, so go check. If it’s not, then maybe someone else will read this story, find it, and return the symbol of love to its rightful owner.
True love does exist. Peter and Grace are proof of that. They had known they were meant to be from the moment they saw each other. Then, one day, she was taken from him by the horrible illness she had battled so bravely. Now, alone with her memory, yet armed with her love, he has sworn to carry on until he’s ready to join her.