Sara Bruno had always been modest. She didn’t think she was superior to anyone. She had grown up as the daughter of a prosperous farmer, and had been able to afford a quality education.
She was able to get into a good university, where she had excellent grades, because she was very intelligent and dedicated. People told her she was a lucky girl, and even she began to believe it. After all, life was easy for her.
As soon as she finished college, she moved out of her parents’ house and got a job in her profession. She worked hard and attended several conferences to improve her CV.
It was as if she always knew exactly what to do and when to do it. This was also how she met her husband Celso.
Their eyes met over a campfire after an academic event they both attended. The night stretched on and saw them sharing games and drinks.
As expected, he didn’t let her leave that night without exchanging contacts, and the next day, as soon as he could, Celso called her.
He was a good man, and he fell in love with Sarah, so they began their courtship. It was like a fairy tale and Sara was convinced that what they had was really special.
They dated for a few years and then Celso proposed to her over a romantic dinner. She said: “Yes, definitely”.
Two years after the marriage, they welcomed a baby boy: he was healthy and they loved him. Sara was totally convinced that her life was comfortable and easy… and then tragedy struck.
Her husband was murdered, and the killer could not be located. It was a shock that made her see the reality: her life was not so special after all.
A few decades later, her son also lost his life in an accident, and convinced Sara that any misfortune could happen to her. She had no star to look after her.
If there were, her husband and son would be with her. But life still had blows in store for her.
For some reason, her daughter-in-law did not have much love for her. They simply never saw eye-to-eye, and that venom gradually seeped into Sara’s relationship with her grandson John.
He loved to visit her at her house as a child, but as he grew older, he began to refuse her invitations and even became rude to her.
John was embarrassed that his grandmother was poor and lived in a small shack on the outskirts of a farm. He also didn’t like her gifts, which always seemed useless.
For one of her birthdays, Sara gave him a huge old-fashioned album full of stamps, but instead of appreciating it, John was disappointed: he had been expecting an iPhone.
“What will I use these stamps for?” he asked when she called him later to see what he’d thought of his gift.
“Honey, those are rare stamps I’ve been collecting all my life!” she said, offended. “I didn’t know you would dislike them so much.”
“It’s not like that at all granny…. It’s just that, you know, I thought you were going to give me the iPhone. Or maybe one of those new new Sony headphones…” he proposed.
“So you’re saying you don’t like it?” asked Sara after a pause.
“It’s old-fashioned, that’s what I’m saying,” John excused himself. “You can ask me next time before you give me a gift!”.
Sara would have defended herself, but the call was cut off after that final statement. The passage of time did not improve the relationship of grandmother and grandson. But Sara, who felt time was running out, tried again years later to repair the relationship.
John was checking his mail one morning when the phone rang. It was Grandma Sara.
“How are you, dear? It’s been so long since we’ve talked,” she told him, trying to sound cheerful despite the news she had to give him.
He held the phone tube with his shoulder and continued to scan her messages on the computer.
“That’s right, Granny, is there a problem? It’s weird that you’re calling me.”
“Is it? I wonder why,” Sara said.
She pushed those thoughts aside with effort and concentrated on the present task.
“I was calling to ask you for a favor,” she said.
“Well, tell me,” John replied.
“I’m having a hard time getting around these days, and I think I’ll need some help. You might be a good choice.”
“You think so?”
“Yes, of course, you won’t regret it, I’ll make sure of it,” Sara said.
“Okay, I’ll come spend some time with you,” said John.
Sara was happy to see her grandson a few days later, and they even got along well for the next few days. However, only a week after his arrival, John grew tired.
Sara couldn’t get a replacement, and none of her neighbors were willing to help take care of her. Everyone had their own problems, and she couldn’t force anyone.
“I think you might want to consider moving into a hospice for the time being, Sara, until you can get everything sorted out. Or ask your daughter-in-law to come and assist you?” a neighbor suggested.
“No, Maggie’s not coming. She’ll laugh in my face first,” Sara said bitterly. “She blames me for my son’s death.”
This was because her son had been on his way to visit her when he had an accident that took his life and left Maggie a single parent.
After her son’s death, she had distanced herself from Sara, and had chosen to treat her as if she didn’t exist. She knew she would get no help from there.
Finally, after Sara had held out as long as possible on her own, she moved into a nursing home where she was assigned a caregiver who was passionate about her work.
He was tall and gentle, and in his early twenties, just like her grandson. He took good care of her and kept her fit as long as he could, and stayed by her bedside always.
Despite all his care, Sara passed away anyway; however, in her last moments, the young man was by her side, and that made her happy.
“I’m lucky after all,” she thought as she took her last breath.
A few days later, Sara was buried, and John paid a visit to her lawyer. He was surprised by what he was told.
“Your grandmother, in fact, owned a notable asset, the mansion on the farm where she lived and the surrounding land.”
“But she lived in a small, run-down house!” stammered John.
“Well, that was her decision. Your grandmother didn’t like going back to the big house because it reminded her of everything she lost, her old life,” the lawyer explained.
“What do you mean by ‘old life’?”
“Do you not know who your grandmother was before the tragedy? It’s a shame, but it’s not your fault, you were just a baby.”
“Sara comes from a long line of wealthy agricultural producers, the farm she lives on has been passed down from generation to generation. It’s very valuable, if I’m not mistaken it’s appraised at $1.3 million.”
John was shocked. “And she kept it for herself? Why?”.
“Then why didn’t we know about it from the beginning?” asked John.
“Because her husband, Celso, died inside the house.”
“Yes, it was right after the birth of their first child; they had a big fight that led your grandmother to spend a night in the caretaker’s house, the small house she lived in all these years. That night, your grandfather left the door open waiting for her to come back, but the ones who came in were burglars, who shot him.”
The lawyer looked at the papers sadly and continued, “It broke her heart, she blamed herself for being the cause of the fight that left him vulnerable that night. So she moved her things into the small cabin and continued to live there as atonement.”
“And that mansion is mine now?”.
“Look, it was going to be, but that changed some time ago. You are no longer the heir to the mansion, it was bequeathed to someone else,” the lawyer revealed.
“What, who?” John couldn’t believe it.
“The nurse who took care of her last time.”
The statement infuriated John and hurt him at the same time. It seemed that his grandmother had deliberately chosen to turn the mansion over to a stranger just to spite him.
For days, John couldn’t help but feel angry every time he thought about it. He tried to forget about it, but he couldn’t let it go either.
One day, he decided to clean out his grandmother’s things in the cabin where she lived, hoping to find peace. He put his hands on old photos of her and was moved to tears after looking at them for some time.
He remembered the gift of the stamp album she had given him: he had given it back to her, but she had kept it. When he picked it up again, he felt sad about how she had spoken to him about it.
He examined it for the first time since then. Now that he was older, he realized that stamps were very expensive.
If he sold them, he would get a lot of money, but John chose to keep them. They were mementos of his grandmother, and he would not get rid of them.
As time passed, John was able to forgive himself for the way he had treated his grandmother. He had come to the conclusion that she was right to have turned the mansion over to her nurse; after all, he had not been there in her time of greatest need.
He wished he could go back in time, but that was no longer possible. His grandmother had passed away, that was the way things were. All he could do was honor the life she lived and be grateful to have known her.