For centuries, chocolate has been used to heighten endorphins and boost happiness. It’s a great gift for loved ones to show them that life is sweeter when they’re around. Chocolate can also be a source of inspiration.

As Forest Gump’s famous saying goes, “Life is like a box of chocolates — you never know what you’re going to get.” But to me, chocolate means so much more.

When I was a little girl, my grandma, Abu, would always give me chocolate. She would take me to her room where we would sit on her bed eating Dove Chocolates from her secret stash. It became our quality time.

There was one big bar she would never share with me. It had a bright red wrapper with white letters that spelled out Nestle Swiss Chocolate. She informed me that this chocolate – her absolute favorite — could only be found in Europe.

A few years later, when I turned nine, my father decided to move to Barranquilla, Colombia. This meant I was leaving everything I had known behind: my family, my friends and my house.  Before I left my family threw me a going-away party.  

My Abu pulled me aside and took me to her room, where she gave me half of that special bar of chocolate. I treasured that gift for six months. Every time I took a bite, I thought of her.

When she passed away, all that was left were my memories of her and the moments we had shared around one sweet, common treat: chocolate.

For my 15th birthday, I didn’t want a typical quinceñera. I wanted a trip to Europe to find this chocolate. My mom booked us a trip on the Chocolate Train, which took us to Broc, Switzerland in search of this chocolate.

I desperately longed for to taste it again and reminisce on the moments spent with my Abu. I tried every single chocolate in the factory but still didn’t find ‘the one.’ Disappointed, I realized that this will always be just a memory. I would never find it again.

When I would tell my Auntie Isa about my chocolate moments with Abu, she would tell me she would search for it while she traveled. I appreciated her effort, but knew she wouldn’t be able to find it.  

One day after work she called me over for dinner and told me she had a little gift for me. Immediately, my thoughts veered to Abu’s chocolate – and sure enough, that was the gift.

As soon as I saw the chocolate bar on the counter, my heart started beating faster, my hands grew sweatier and I told myself, this probably isn’t it, the wrapper has changed. But when its sweet fumes reached my nose, I was almost sure it was the one.

I tasted a piece and began to cry — it was the one. It felt like my Abu was there sharing the moment with me. What I thought would always be a memory became reality.

 

Isa and Abu,

I am so thankful to you, Isa, for rekindling my moment with Abu and our chocolate. I don’t know if I can ever express how I feel having it within arm’s reach. You did what I thought was impossible.

Abu, I know you are watching over me in heaven. I love and miss you very much. I can’t wait to share more chocolate moments with you.