It was Saturday, the day before Easter. It had been a long wet winter, and now after weeks of wonderful sunshine, everything was green, and the poppies were in bloom. It was a great day to shop for my family’s Easter dinner. But first I had a list of critically ill patients with cancer that I needed to call to find out what they needed, so I could pass the information on to the Unity Shoppe to make each of them a special needs package.
The first person I called was Ruth. I was told that she was too weak to come to the phone. After explaining who I was and why I was calling, her family helped her to the phone so she could tell me she didn’t need a package because she did not believe she would make it to her birthday. After a short talk, she admitted that she had always wanted a bed jacket and now she could really use one. Her favorite color was yellow. Then her daughter told me she had been too ill during the winter for the family to celebrate Christmas, so they were decorating a Christmas tree for her at Easter. Her doctor had arranged for her favorite grandson to come home from the military because he felt she did not have much time left to be with her family. They were expecting him at any time, and she was excited and happy even in the face of the inevitable.
My, my, I had to move quickly. It was the day before Easter, and I wasn’t sure all this could be arranged. I called and told Barbara that I needed to pick up the box for Ruth before 1 PM. When I arrived at the Unity Shoppe, I couldn’t believe my eyes! There before me was the biggest Easter basket I had ever seen. Inside was a huge white rabbit with pink ears cradling a yellow bed jacket and house slippers to match! There were also lots of other goodies inside the basket–candies, hand cream, shampoo and more. It was delicately wrapped in clear plastic, so that you could see everything. Floating overhead was an array of multi-colored balloons, with lots of pretty ribbons curling down the sides. I was so happy that I cried, because I knew what this would mean to Ruth.
As I walked down the street to my car, people waved and honked and called out of their car windows about this spectacular basket. I felt like a millionaire!
I arrived at Ruth’s home and was welcomed by her family. There was the Christmas tree with presents all around. Intermingled with Christmas were all the trimmings of Easter. What a glorious sight! Ruth was helped to the living room. You should have seen her face, she glowed with surprise and happiness and everyone had tears in her eyes – even the Hospice nurse was touched!
I left that house walking on cloud nine because this was also an Easter Gift for me. This was the best Easter I could ever remember, and one I would never forget. Thanks to all those at the Unity Shoppe for making this possible for Ruth and all the others touched every day with handmade special orders. No one in Santa Barbara County provides the service Unity does year-round so seniors, the sick and the disabled can find love, respect and dignity towards the end of their lives.
A Hospice Volunteer