A wealthy man tosses the walnut bag his grandmother brought him into a drawer and forgets about it. When he opens it after her death, however, he is not able to control his tears.
“I’m getting late, Grandma. I’ll miss the flight. I’ll take it some other time,” Stan shouted as he prepared to leave. He worked as a data scientist in New York City and had come to spend the weekend with his mother and grandmother, who lived in the Texas countryside.
Stan’s father had passed away when he was just 5, and since then, his mother and grandmother raised him alone. When Stan was in university, he often visited them during the weekends, but after getting a job, his visits had reduced, and he rarely came to see them.
Stan opened his grandmother’s gift only after she passed away | Photo: Shutterstock
As he prepared to head to the airport that day, his grandmother stopped him, telling him that she had a special gift for him. “See, mom, I love Grandma, but I’m not a child! Grandma needs to understand this!” he expressed his dissatisfaction to his mother, Lily. But his mother explained to him that his grandmother would be upset if he left without accepting her present, so Stan agreed to wait.
He was, however, constantly checking his watch, growing impatient that he might miss the flight due to his grandmother. “I’m sorry, but I’ll have to leave Grandma. If I wait for 5 more minutes, I’ll have to take a connecting flight!” he said, collecting his luggage. But just then, Elyse came out of the kitchen.
“I’m here, yeah, take this,” she said, handing him an old handmade burlap bag full of walnuts. “You eat all those expensive nuts from the city which are not even nice. This year we had good produce of walnuts, so I saved some for you.”
“Seriously, Grandma? You wanted me to wait for a cheap bag of walnuts? And what’s with that bag? People used it in the olden times!” Stan frowned. “I could have taken them later. Because of these stupid walnuts, I’m going to be late!”
“But honey…” Before Elyse could say anything, Stan cut her off.
“Yeah, okay, Grandma! I know you’ll say walnuts are good for your brain and everything! Okay, agreed! Now let me go!” Stan kissed Elyse on the cheeks, hugged his mother, and hopped on to a cab to the airport.
Stan was constantly checking his watch, afraid he wouldn’t reach the airport on time | Photo: Pexels
When he arrived home, he carelessly tossed the bag of walnuts in the kitchen drawer, wondering why his Grandma made such a fuss over them. How much do these walnuts even cost? It must be something expensive for Grandma, but it’s such a cheap gift for anyone, to be honest! He sneered as he shut the kitchen drawer.
The next day, at the office, his grandmother called him to ask if he liked her present. “Did you like the walnuts, honey? Aren’t they amazing?”
“Well, yeah, grandma, they were good,” Stan lied. “I shared some of it with my neighbors. I’m sure they loved it too.”
“Really, honey? Oh, I’m so glad you liked them!” Elyse said, delighted. “Next time you come, I’ll give you more, okay?”
“Sure, Grandma!” Stan said, hoping that she wouldn’t take him seriously. “Anyway, I have to go to a meeting, Grandma, so I’ll call you later!”
“Sure, honey,” Elyse said and then hung up the phone.
Elyse called and asked Stan if he liked her gift | Photo: Pexels
A few days later, Elyse called again but Stan didn’t answer. He knew it was just another call to ask about her walnuts or whether he’d eaten or if his health was good. He put his phone on silent mode and returned to work.
Things went on like that for almost a week, and Stan kept ignoring her calls. One day, he called Lily and told her to explain to Elyse not to call him frequently as he was working on a project and would be busy. But a week later, he regretted saying that.
“Your grandmother is in the hospital, honey,” Lily said sobbing on the phone. “She fell down the stairs this afternoon and hasn’t regained consciousness. I’m very concerned about her.”
“What?! What did the doctors say? Grandma will be fine, right?” Stan asked, worried.
“They’re saying if she doesn’t gain consciousness, we might lose her! I don’t know what to do, honey. I’m scared!” Lily burst into tears.
Elyse was admitted to a hospital | Photo: Pexels
“Okay, mom, first of all, calm down,” Stan comforted her. “I’ll be there as soon as possible. I’ll take the next flight, okay? Nothing bad is going to happen to Grandma!”
“Yes, honey, please come as soon as possible. I don’t think I’ll be able to handle everything on my own.”
“Don’t worry, mom. I’ll be there soon,” Stan said, and he hung up the phone. He requested a leave of absence from his boss and boarded the first flight to Texas.
When he arrived at the hospital, he saw his mother sobbing uncontrollably outside Elyse’s room. “Mom!” Stan broke into tears. “Please, don’t cry. Grandma is going to be fine!”
“I hope so too, honey,” Lily sobbed. “I shouldn’t have left her alone at home. It’s all my fault, honey. It’s all my fault.”
“No, mom!” Stan said as he hugged her. “It was just an accident. Grandma won’t leave us like that. She promised me she’d get me walnuts when I came to visit her next. She can’t break her promise like that,” he continued, teary-eyed, hoping Elyse would recover soon. But the next day, when the doctor went to check on Elyse, she was gone.
Elyse passed away | Photo: Shutterstock
Stan organized the funeral for her, and after everyone left, he took his mother with him and flew back to New York. He’d already lost time with his grandmother, he didn’t want to miss out on his mother too.
For days, he tried to return to his normal life, but he couldn’t. He sat alone in his room, crying, cursing himself for being a terrible grandson. I wish I had picked up when you called! Please forgive me, Grandma! Please forgive me for what I did!
One day, as he was about to leave for work, he went to the kitchen to make himself some coffee when it hit him. The walnuts! Stan dashed to the drawer where he’d stashed the bag and opened it.
When he saw the bag full of walnuts, he couldn’t stop crying. His grandmother had removed the walnut covers and placed them in a series of small boxes, each with a message for him. Stan’s eyes welled up as he read the messages on them.
“Have a wonderful day, honey! Remember two walnuts a day from Grandma Elyse, keeps the bad health away,” the first said with a smiley. “Open this with a smile because Grandma loves you,” read another one. “You are doing great, honey,” said the third. “I’m proud of you!”
Stan discovered tiny boxes of walnuts inside the bag | Photo: Unsplash
Stan burst into tears at the sight of the sweetly packed walnut boxes. And from that year on, no matter how busy he was, he visited his grandmother’s grave every year with a walnut cake and sat there for hours, talking to her about how much he loved her and the walnuts she’d given him.
See, grandma! I bought a walnut cake for you! I’m sorry I didn’t spend enough time with you, but I want you to know that I love you!
What can we learn from this story?
- Act before it’s too late. Stan kept blaming himself for being a bad grandson after Elyse died. Things would have been very different if he hadn’t been so cold to his grandmother.
- Gifts can be large or small, but those that come from the heart are the best of all. Stan realized this when he opened his grandmother’s gift, but it was already too late by then.
If you enjoyed this story, you might like this one about a little boy crying all alone over his mom’s fresh grave when an old lady finds him.
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