I asked Valerie for a list of first names of all staff at the nursing home. She respectfully said she would email them. The beach sand-colored paper I chose for the cards was snipped into 70 pieces. I wrote that my mother Nellie Joyce was kind and gentle. I was lucky to have her in my life 54 years. Thank you for all you do at Oakdale Nursing Home. Signed Perry, her daughter. I wrote all 70 as if my life depended on each word reaching the carers and helpers who made Mam’s last two years matter. They did.

Mam was a please-and-thank-you advocate. To honor her principles it was important that everyone was acknowledged. Next I called Chilmark Chocolates. I placed a special order. Choosing three favorites, butternut crunch, caramel and truffle, I asked for 70 boxes of three. My heart was heavy as I drove the familiar route up-Island to State Road. Beth handed me two boxes. Staring up at me were tiny white boxes with the Chilmark Chocolates logo embossed on each. I told Beth I was mailing them to Ireland as a thank you for my mother’s caregivers. Beth quietly said she wanted to gift the order. At that moment her gracious manner and Mam’s 54 years of unconditional kindness mingled.

At the end of the year, a bell will ring. The first clang will sound goodness and the second gracious. This clanging will continue long after the door to Chilmark Chocolates closes for the last time. It will be heard on the Island and I’ve no doubt other distant lands. Thank you Beth, Allison and team Chilmark Chocolates. May the road rise to meet you (Irish blessing).

Forever with gratitude.

Perry Joyce

County Kerry, Ireland