Danny opened the gift and frowned.
“A sweater again? Really, what’s wrong with Grandma Elena?”
Danny was disappointed and protested the foolishness of sending her another sweater. For the past five years, since his grandmother became wheelchair-bound, she hadn’t been able to visit him for Christmas, but every year she sent him a gift.
The first year, Danny would get excited when he received a gift, but when sweaters were the gift for four years in a row, the 11-year-old didn’t even bother to show emotion when he opened the gift.
“Why can’t she get me something I want?” grumbled Danny. “Mom, tell her to stop sending those sweaters! I hate them!”
“Danny, honey, that’s rude!” her mother said. “You know Grandma knits them with love. The least you can do is call her and thank her.”
“Really, mom?” the boy said bitterly. “You’re impossible! I’m going to my room.”
Danny left the sweater on the living room couch and disappeared into his room.
“Dad and I are going out Christmas shopping, Danny!” his mother said. “Make sure the tree is decorated while we’re out. You promised you’d help me.”
“I will, Mom,” Danny shouted. “You don’t need to keep reminding me!”.
Danny was in a bad mood, and it was all Elena’s fault. Why had she sent him a sweater again? He had told her last year in a phone call that he really wanted the PlayStation, yet she sent him a sweater!
“I’m sick of these sweaters!” grumbled Danny. “I never want to see them again!”.
So when his parents went out shopping, he pulled the sweater off the couch and took it up to the attic like he did every year.
“That’s where this stupid sweater belongs! Actually, no, I’ll be sure to keep it somewhere where no one can find it!”
In a rage, the boy went upstairs, picked up all the disheveled sweaters and stuffed them into a cardboard box.
Happy not to have to see them again, Danny smiled and decided to leave the attic.
But he couldn’t. The door was stuck. He applied all his strength to open it, but couldn’t.
“Oh, no!” he cried, terrified. “Mom, Dad, I’m stuck in here! Open the door!”
Then it dawned on him that his parents were out shopping.
Danny’s heart began to pound harder. He decided to yell for help through the broken attic window, but he was too short to reach it.
“It’s all right. Mom and Dad will come home soon and help me,” he thought. He sat down on the floor and decided to wait.
He waited and waited and, little by little, the afternoon turned into night. The attic grew darker and colder. He shivered as the breeze came in through the broken window. It was very cold.
“Why haven’t mom and dad come back, what should I do?”.
Danny hugged his knees and began to cry.
“It’s so cold in here, Mom!” he sobbed. “I’m freezing. I need a blanket or…”.
That’s when it hit Danny – Elena’s sweaters! He could put them on.
Danny ran to the box, pulled one out and put it on. He felt warm and relieved.
Since the floor was also cold, he used another one as a mat and sat on it. But it was still cold. The city was covered with snow, and because of the broken window, the cold winds constantly bothered Danny until darkness enveloped his eyes, and he couldn’t feel anything. He passed out from the cold.
A few hours later
Danny opened his eyes briefly and heard voices around him.
“Danny, honey, can you hear me? Doctor! Danny’s awake!”.
When Danny’s parents came home and couldn’t find him, they searched the whole house. In the end, they found him in the attic in a terrible state. He was unconscious on the attic floor, hugging one of Elena’s sweater.
They called 911 and took him to the hospital. Danny had passed out and had a fever, and his condition could have been worse if Elena’s sweater hadn’t kept him warm.
“Mom…,” he said weakly. “The door to the attic…it’s locked, Mom…get me out!”.
“You’re okay, honey,” his mother said through tears. “You’re in the hospital, Danny. You’re okay. Mommy’s here, okay?”
“It was so cold, Mom,” Danny expressed. “Grandma Elena saved me, Mom. I was such a bad boy. I deserved this.”
“Not at all, honey. It’s all right. It’s all right.”
Danny learned his lesson that day. He realized he had been rude to Elena by not appreciating her gift. Those sweaters had saved her life!
So the next day, Danny video called Elena and apologized.
“Merry Christmas, Grandma,” he told her. “I wanted to apologize for not calling you sooner when I got your gift. I loved it Grandma.”
“Oh, did you, little one?” Elena’s face lit up at hearing this. “Oh, I was worried you were already sick of my knitting. But I was so wrong. Honey, next year I’ll buy you something different, what do you say?”.
“Well, you decide, Grandma!” replied Danny as he pulled the camera away from the phone to show her that he was wearing her sweater.
“But what I love most are your sweaters! I’m going to wear one this Christmas. And I want one every year.”
Imagine Elena’s joy at hearing that. She was smiling, but tears had welled up in her eyes.
Elena was diagnosed with cancer that year and given less than three months to live. Despite her poor health, she stayed up almost every night to finish the sweater for Danny. Elena’s eyes, like her whole body, had begun to fail her. She wanted to send one last Christmas gift to her grandson before she went to her heavenly home.
So when Danny called and thanked her for his gift, Elena smiled despite the tears in her eyes. She didn’t want him to see her cry because she wanted her grandson to remember her smiling and happy.
And before she breathed her last, she left Danny a letter under her pillow. It said:
“My dearest Danny,
I’m sorry, but I won’t be able to send you a Christmas present next year. I have a terrible illness that prevents me from seeing my grandson. But the illness will never win! Even after I die, I’ll love my grandson!
I’m sorry I couldn’t get you… what’s that game thing called… that console… I’m sorry, Grandma Elena has a terrible memory. You buy it, Danny. I left you the money here. And look in my closet. You’ll find a sweater in there.
Love, Grandma Elena.”
When Danny opened Elena’s closet, he found two sweaters there. One of them she didn’t get to finish because God called her home, and Danny burst into tears, regretting that he didn’t love her enough.