One Last Easter Treat

by holli on June 3, 2017

{My Mom died battling breast cancer on January 12, 2017. With grief, I find myself replaying moments of significance since she died. Here is my attempt to share the good ones.}

The mysterious chocolate bar.

I was looking for something in the car, and I found this chocolate bar in the middle console between the front seats. On it was written, “I Love You Little Sister!” I thought it was odd, because I didn’t remember putting it there, and I didn’t recognize the handwriting, or the context of who it came from or the story behind it. No matter, I love dark chocolate, and took it into the house. It joined others in the cupboard.

When my Mom died, the process of taking all of her things from the hospital, or my brother’s house or her home to ours was a messy blur. I have been finding things and trying to return them to their rightful owner. So, a chocolate bar with a sweet note wasn’t a total surprise. I thought perhaps it had been given from my brother to our little sister.

We went to the Olympic Peninsula for a short Easter trip. We had to do something different for our family to celebrate Easter. The reason is that it would be the first Easter without my Mom. Easter had sort of become her holiday with our family. Living in the northeastern corner of Oregon, it was usually the time when the two mountain passes were less treacherous to cross and spring started to show. And, on the occasion we didn’t make the journey to celebrate with her in person, she was faithful in sending a package of small goodies for the kids – home made cookies, or a small present like a wash cloth that expanded to reveal a fun design when put into water.

Out on the Olympic Peninsula, we spent as much time as we could being outside. We hiked the Hoh Rainforest trail for most of one day, and while it was a rewarding hike, providing both river exploration, water falls and mossy wonders, it was hard. The kids were getting tired. My husband had packed a chocolate bar from my small stash at home. He reminded me that we had that chocolate bar in the car. We used it as our carrot. If we could get the hike done in a reasonable time, get back to the car by 4:30pm, we’d all split the chocolate!





Sure enough, we got back to the car with ten minutes to spare and split the chocolate bar 4 ways – it was delicious. To my surprise, this was the mysterious chocolate bar I had found in my car. Driving back to our temporary home away from home for the weekend, it hit me. My eyes welled up. Tears streaming down my face as I remembered bits of her last day.

We were told she had about 24 hours left to live, and immediately had so many hard decisions to make – who to call, how to manage visits. We decided to only call family who would be able to possibly come say goodbye in person. It was such a rushed time, a blur of coordination and activity. Wanting everyone to have a turn, and finding space to have her to ourselves in the very swift end (immediate family for her last breaths). It felt very oddly like just a bad dream, it couldn’t be real…

This was the chocolate bar my mom’s sister brought her. She had brought a chocolate bar to her on her last day of life. My mom was barely awake for short periods and not able to do much more than sip water through a straw. She never did enjoy her chocolate bar. And, somehow, it made it’s way into our hands. It was one last Easter treat from Grandma.

Post Script: A shout out of gratitude to Grandma Gerrie who sent the kids surprise Easter gifts! It helped to get something fun in the mail on our first non-traditional Easter.

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