A grandson ignored his granny’s invitation to visit her for Christmas. He returned home five months later for summer and was shocked to see dusty X-mas decorations in his house. He called out to his granny and was terrified when his neighbor gave him a visiting card in tears.
The ambulance siren pierced through the evening traffic in Ellsworth, Maine. 80-year-old Dorothy Fletcher lay on the stretcher, almost lifeless. The tears that rolled down her eyes were the only signs that she was still alive.
She felt the sound around her slowly fade, and her consciousness dwindle. She closed her teary eyes, praying hard to see her grandson for one last time.
But in Upstate New York, Pierce Fletcher was partying in the pub with his friends. During that half-hour ride to the hospital, old Dorothy recalled everything about him, especially that painful incident last Christmas…
Pierce, 19, and his two siblings grew up under their grandma Dorothy’s wings since birth. Their parents left them with her and traveled worldwide on business trips. But a tragic car crash five years ago permanently left the kids under old Dorothy’s custody.
Two years ago, Pierce hugged her goodbye before boarding the taxi to the airport. His two siblings, Maya, 4, and Jake, 5, stood at the doorstep, waving at him.
“What is this place, and where is my grandma? I’m scared…can someone please tell me where she is?”
“See you soon for the holidays, grandma!” Pierce kissed her before leaving for New York University. Although academics got the best of him, he always set aside time for family.
Old Dorothy had no other children, and her three grandkids meant the world to her. So when Pierce left for college to another state, Dorothy was half-hearted. But she knew that education would mold him into a brighter person.
Dorothy took care of all his expenses and even paid for his expensive clothes and shoes. “I always want my boy to shine in the crowd!” she often exclaimed.
Meanwhile, Pierce never missed visiting his granny for the holidays these two years. The family had the best time of their lives whenever he was around. But things took a different direction when Pierce entered his junior year.
“Oh, Happy birthday, Granny!” Pierce wished old Dorothy on a video call. “Er…I’m so sorry, but I couldn’t make it there this year…I was occupied with exams this entire week… But I promise I’ll be there for you soon!”
Pierce lied. He had planned a trip with his friends and decided not to go home to visit his grandma. “I can visit her anytime later…She can wait!” he mumbled after cutting the call.
Dorothy had stopped celebrating her birthday after her husband died 30 years ago. But it was Pierce’s idea when he was 5 to cut her birthday cake and celebrate her special day.
For years, Dorothy’s birthday became their little family tradition. But her 80th birthday celebration in October 2018 remained incomplete without Pierce.
With each passing day, the grandson had little to no time for his granny. He barely called her and was too busy to attend to her phone calls. Two months had passed like this. Pierce had talked to Dorothy thrice until December when he got a fourth phone call on Christmas Eve. She was excited to invite him over for the holidays.
“What is it, grandma??? I told you, right…I’m busy with my project, and I have so many tests,” he fumed. “Don’t keep calling me because I’m very busy with my studies, okay?”
Old Dorothy cried in silence. “B-but son, you know there’s no Christmas without you…Please come home…I’m feeling weak, and I don’t know if I will make it to next Christmas….” she sobbed.
But Pierce ignored her words. He took his granny for granted and told her he had things to handle beyond family. “Jesus! Why don’t you understand? Do you want me to spend an entire week with you… and…and be your walking stick? Oh, come on, grandma, leave me alone…I’ll come when I feel like it, okay?”
Dorothy froze in pain as Pierce hung up on her. However, she organized a little party for Maya and Jake because she didn’t want to spoil their holidays.
Five days after Christmas, Dorothy’s neighbors flocked outside her house. They suspected something was wrong after not seeing her outside to feed her ducks.
The kind neighbors barged into the granny’s house and found her unconscious on the floor. “Oh my goodness! What happened to you, Mrs. Fletcher?” they shrieked.
Dorothy was hurriedly brought to the hospital in an ambulance. She had a stroke the previous night. Her grandchildren were asleep, and they were too young to understand her struggles.
After half an hour, Dorothy was rushed to the emergency ward. “Does she have any relatives who can attend to her quickly?” the doctor asked the neighbors. But Pierce had been partying hard, setting calls from all unknown numbers to his block list.
“No, he’s not picking up the call, and it’s always not reachable,” exclaimed one neighbor. But poor Dorothy’s condition remained critical, and Pierce was the only hope that kept her alive.
Five months later, Pierce was out of money. He’d blown all the cash he’d taken from Dorothy on parties and nights of clubbing. “Finally, I can go meet grandma and get some money from her!” he mumbled joyfully on his flight to his hometown.
The University had closed for the summer. Pierce was excited to visit his granny after a long time. “I hope she isn’t angry with me!”
But when he arrived home, he saw the unkempt lawn sprawling with dry leaves and weeds. “WHAT JUST HAPPENED HERE?” he muttered as he entered the house.
“Grandma? I’m home…Grandma? Where is everyone??? Maya…Jake?” Pierce was shocked to see the Christmas decorations still there. A Christmas tree in the living room corner stood cloaked in dust. “Grandma???” he called out but saw nobody.
Pierce anxiously headed to the neighbors to find out. “Hey, hi! Do you know where my granny is? My little brother and sister aren’t in the house either,” he asked Gerald, his neighbor.
A few neighbors flocked around Pierce, mumbling among themselves, “That’s the boy…”
Pierce couldn’t understand what was happening. Just then, a teary-eyed Gerald gave him a visiting card to a nursing facility and told him to go there. “Hey, wait…Can someone just tell me what happened?” But people wouldn’t stop smirking at Pierce. “I don’t know this place…can you come with me?” he asked Gerald.
The two arrived at the nursing facility on the outskirts of town.
“What is this place, and where is my grandma? I’m scared…can someone please tell me where she is?” Pierce asked anxiously. A little later, he saw a caretaker bring someone in a wheelchair.
As the person neared, Pierce’s heart dropped to the floor. “GRANDMA???” he shouted in tears. “WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU?”
Gerald told him about how old Dorothy had a stroke in January. “Thank God we found her…She has lost her ability to walk, but the doctor said she might recover if cared for properly.”
Pierce became emotional. He bawled and regretted turning down his granny’s invitation to visit on Christmas Eve. “And my siblings? Where are they?”
Later, Gerald drove Pierce to an orphanage that took Maya and Jake after Dorothy was hospitalized. He signed for custody of them and took them home. A week later, Pierce brought his grandma home and hired a nurse to provide at-home services.
Pierce realized his mistake, and when his friends called him, he ignored their calls and texts. “No, I have important work to do at home…Sorry guys!” read his last message to them.
Luckily, his faculty granted him a semester off when he requested leave to take care of his family. He then took a job in one of his family friend’s companies. During this time, he took good care of his grandma and siblings.
As time passed, Pierce completed his degree in a distance learning program. He found a better job in an ad agency and moved to New York with his grandma and siblings.
From that day onward, Pierce made sure to give top priority to his family no matter what, and due to his diligent care and devotion, old Dorothy’s health improved.
Pierce was peaceful and motivated whenever he was around his family. Whenever it was the Christmas season, he made sure to book his leave in advance because he believed there was no Christmas without family.
“Merry Christmas, grandma!” Pierce shouted in joy as he hugged old Dorothy on Christmas Eve.
“Merry Christmas, son!” she said with tears of joy!
What can we learn from this story?
Appreciate the love you get from someone while they are still alive. Pierce was so immersed in a fun life with his friends in his third year of college that he ignored his grandma’s calls and invitations to visit her for the holidays. But when he did arrive months later, he found her in a nursing facility after she had suffered a stroke. He regretted his mistake and tried to rectify it by spending more time with his family.
Difficulties mold a person and teach them to grow up in life. Pierce lived a happy-go-lucky life and was only bothered about his desires. But when he started to make little sacrifices to care for his grandma and siblings, his values and outlook on life matured.