by Marta Felber

. . . into my hand! Honestly, I don’t remember reaching out and actually picking it up. I was not thinking about candy. In fact, I wasn’t even hungry. What was on my mind was that I had to hurry and get out of the store and into my car before it started to rain even harder. I could see the downpour from where I stood at the cash register. The prepared souls coming in had umbrellas. I didn’t!

Here I was with a candy bar in my hand. It was not any candy bar, picked at random. It was a PayDay, the original kind, with peanuts, not chocolate. As I felt it in my hand, I knew why it was there, and for whom it was meant. For a moment I held it close, remembering. It was Joe’s very favorite candy bar – the one he always chose to satisfy his sweet tooth. I liked it okay, but certainly not one I would choose. I am an admitted chocoholic. It never entered my mind, however, to put the PayDay back on the shelf and get a Hershey, or some other favorite of mine. No, I knew in my heart that it was time for a necessary ritual, and I was almost ready.

You may think that I handed it to the cashier to ring up so I could put it in my bag to eat on the way home. That is what I would have done with a not-on-my-eating-program Hershey bar. That experience was always managed in secret, justifying it with needing energy to get home, unpack the groceries and get a healthy meal together. I just managed to slip the PayDay onto the rolling counter, in time for it to get thrown into the last bag to collect.

I won’t bore you with details of putting a bag over my head, racing to the car, and getting completely soaked. It is what happened to the PayDay that is important. Once at home it was put in a prominent place on the kitchen counter to wait for the perfect time. I would know.

And I did. In the early evening I found myself drawn to the candy bar, picked it up and walked directly to the back porch. There was just enough light to see my way. I sat on the couch and listened to the now gentle rain. It was so comforting. Slowly, I unwrapped the PayDay, keeping some of the wrapper around it. It was clear that I had gone too long without having a special time to remember Joe and our life together. The time had come, and the PayDay was the trigger. Tears came, but not many. The flood of tears was shed years before. But the memories came, and they were welcome. I could see him, enjoying his selected PayDay, taking little bites to make it last longer. He was great at being able to postpone gratification of needs – much better than I. He had taught me so much by how he lived his life. I thanked him again. In so many ways he lives on. I let myself remember and treasure, for a long time.

Would I be sacrilegious if I thought of the Last Supper? As I ate the PayDay, which was selected for Joe, I did it in remembrance of him. And I was thankful not only for Joe, but also for the Master Planner, who brought us together and so blessed our lives.

Notes from Marta:

Have you postponed the need to remember your no-longer-with-you loved one?
Find something to trigger your memory – a picture, letter, or their belonging.
Compose your own memory story.

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