Granny Orders Grandson Not to Open Old Rusty Box until She Dies, He Opens It the Next Day— Story of the Day

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By Manuela Cardiga
Apr 03, 2022
12:00 P.M.

A young boy goes against his seriously ill grandma's wishes and opens a box prematurely despite her instructions to unlock it only after she is dead. He discovers a family secret that breaks his heart.


Danny Durrel was devastated when he learned that his grandmother Vivian was sick. Granma Vivi had been the cornerstone of his life for as long as he could remember. He'd never felt so scared and so insecure.

Grandma Vivi had raised Danny while his adventurous mom had gone off to Africa when he was just three months old to save rhinos and elephants and other endangered species, and that was where she'd died when he was two. Grandma Vivi was all he had.

Danny was shocked by what he found inside the rusty old box. | Source:


Danny never saw his mom. His grandmother, 76, said that his mother protects wild animals in Africa. He regularly received letters from his mother in which she talked about the nature of Africa and about animals.

Grandma Vivi did it the right way. She sat down with Danny and said: "Danny honey, you're twelve now, and you're a young man. There's something I need to talk about. You know I went to the doctor?

"Well, the doctor said I'm sick and I'll have to have an operation. Now I know it's scary, but the doctors think I'm going to be alright..."

Grandma Vivi didn't know that her cheerful tome didn't fool Danny for a second and that slight hesitation when she said the doctors thought she'd be OK told him the exact opposite was true.


Danny's mom died working to save endangered species in Africa. | Source: Unsplash

But Danny nodded bravely and smiled and Grandma Vivi continued: "But of course, we have to think about the future, so if something happens to me -- for example I could fall and break my hip? -- I've spoken to Aunt Heather.


"She'll come to fetch you and take care of you until I'm all better. Of course, I'm seventy-six, Danny, and one day I'll be going home to Jesus, right? To be with your mom? And when I do, this is yours."

Grandma Vivi brought out an iron box about the size of a shoebox and set it on her knee.

"You're going to die?" Danny whispered in dismay.

Danny was raised by his Grandma Vivi. | Source: Unsplash


"No, of course not... I mean ONE DAY!" Grandma Vivi cried. "And that's when you'll open the box, OK Danny?"

"What's in the box?" Danny asked suspiciously.

"It's just a few mementos that I want you to have, OK," Vivi said. "But you only open it after I die. That's VERY important. You have to promise, Danny, OK?"

Danny didn't want to promise, so he crossed his fingers behind his back and swore he wouldn't open the box. But he was now certain that Grandma Vivi was making plans for when she died. He would go live with her younger sister, Aunt Heather, and the box probably held a goodbye letter.


Grandma Vivi's doctors diagnosed her with a serious illness. | Source: Unsplash

That night, Danny couldn't sleep. He tossed and turned until his alarm clock told him it was 3:00 am. He sat up and looked at the rusty box sitting on his dresser, the key in that rusty lock. He jumped out of bed and got that box. Then he fetched his flashlight and proceeded to break his promise to Grandma Vivi like he'd known he would.


Inside, right on top, was a folded letter addressed to him in Vivi's handwriting, and underneath he saw a bunch of official-looking documents and some photos.

He unfolded the letter and started reading it. Grandma Vivi wrote: "My dearest Danny, First of all, I want to tell you that I love you more than I've ever loved anyone or anything in this life.

Danny opened the box and looked inside. | Source: Unsplash


"When you were born I was going through one of the most terrible moments in my life. Then there was you, and you needed me, and so I pulled through. You saved me, your love kept me alive.

"You see my love, I had just lost my daughter. I got that phone call from Africa telling me my Melissa was gone, and I hung up and went back to work telling myself it wasn't true.

"Back then I was a nurse at the neonatal ward and that was also the day you were born. You're not of my blood Danny, but you are the grandson of my heart. You're the grandbaby Melissa would have given me. I knew that the minute I saw you.

You see, your poor mother died in childbirth. You were so tiny! You were the smallest premature baby I'd ever seen. They didn't think you would make it, but I did.


Danny cried when he read Grandma Vivi's letter. | Source: Unsplash

"Every day I was there talking to you, willing you to pull through -- and you did! You were such a miracle! They said no one knew who your family was because your mother had been a homeless girl.


"So I asked to adopt you, and because I was a nurse, it was a little easier -- also because no one thought you'd be OK, so I got you and you grew so strong and handsome and so smart!

"You've made my life worth living. I want you to know that Danny. In the box are your birth certificate and the adoption papers, my will, and some bank books. The accounts hold money I've been setting aside for your education. 

"I love you, Danny. Be a good man, my dear, and remember that love saves us and gives us strength to live."

Grandma Vivi had saved Danny's life. | Source: Unsplash


By the time Danny finished reading the letter, he was sobbing so hard that Grandma Vivi woke up. "Danny!" she gasped. "Why...?" Then she saw the box on Danny's knees and the letter in his hand.

She walked in, sat by his side on the bed, and put her arm around his shoulders. "Please don't cry my love." 

"You've lied to me my whole life!" Danny sobbed. "Everything is a lie, and you're going to die and you're lying about that too."

"Danny," Grandma Vivi said quietly. "Maybe I should have told you the truth, but back then...I just wanted you to be mine so badly...I'm so sorry about the lie. I am very sick, and that's the truth. "I hope that I will be OK, but I want you to be ready if I'm not. I'm old and you're so young so I had to make plans..."


Danny helped Grandma Vivi fight for her life. | Source: Pexels

"You said in this letter," Danny said, "that you helped me fight for my life. So let me help you fight for yours. Please, Grandma Vivi, let me be there for you. I need you!"


Grandma Vivi and Danny fought her disease together. Danny went with her to every treatment and was right there by her side holding her hand and talking her through. The doctors were astounded by her recovery, but Grandma Vivi could have told them that there is no greater power for healing than love. 

What can we learn from this story?

  • Love has the power to transform your life. Vivian's love saved Danny, and when she was sick, his love gave her the strength to fight for her life.
  • What makes a family is love and devotion. Vivian transformed her pain into love for Danny and gave him the family he needed.

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If you enjoyed this story, you might like this one about a grandmother whose inheritance teaches her grandchildren a lesson about greed, kindness, and true value.

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