rusty old ammunition box

Boy Hands Poor Widowed Mom a Box and Says, “Dad Told Me You Should Open This If We Need Help” – a Short Story

Our story today, inspired by the readers of AmoMama, started out like a dream…Boy meets girl, they fall in love. Get married, not too long after, they are blessed with a beautiful little boy. The picture-perfect family, as described by the media. John and Sandra were married in a bandstand at their favorite park where they had met as teenagers. They had dated for many years and decided they could not imagine spending their lives with anyone else by their sides, so they tied the knot and embraced a new future together. When their little boy Daniel was born they truly felt like the most blessed family in the world. 

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They were not a family of many means, often teetering on the edge of poverty. This meant little to them because they were so rich in love that their lives felt abundant nonetheless. They had a modest, but beautiful home that had a great garden with loads of potential. Sandra would sit on their back porch and watch their son playing in the flower bed, or running around a sprinkler on hot days. We all know how it goes, and in stories like these, something has to go wrong at some point right? That is exactly what happened, and like most tragedies, it was the least expected.

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When Tragedy Strikes

John worked as a truck driver that transported goods between various towns. This meant that we worked long hours to make the entire route, and spent the occasional night away from home. He worked hard because they were still paying the mortgage for their home. His anniversary with Sandra was coming up soon, and he wanted to surprise her with a beautiful gift so he started working double time in order to cover everything that month. This meant long nights of driving on roads that feel endless, he shrugged off the dread. It would be worth it in the end.

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Sandra had woken up one morning feeling particularly excited. John was coming home that day after having spent two days driving. She wasn’t worried because he had promised her that he would stop off at motels along the way. When the phone rang, she answered happily thinking he was calling to let her know his estimated time of arrival. A woman’s voice was on the other side, telling her that her husband had been in an accident and had passed away. 

Sandra’s whole world seemed to go mute and her heart felt as if it had fallen right through her body. This can’t be real she kept wondering to herself, but the sad reality was, that she was now to raise little Daniel all by herself. 

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The Inevitable Changes

Sandra had worked a part-time job before her husband’s death. She was relieved when John’s life insurance policy paid out and she was able to cover a few of the bills for a while at least. She found another job that offered much longer hours in the hopes to be able to afford everything, but her major concern was the mortgage payments. After she failed to meet the payments for a couple of months in a row, they lost the house. This was Sandra’s last connection to her husband, so it broke her heart to have to leave it all behind. 

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Sandra moved into a smaller apartment with Daniel, and she never felt like it was a real home because there was no garden for Daniel to play in, nor beds to plant flowers. That mother’s day, Daniel gave her a small pot plant with some flowers blooming. She marveled at her little boy, seeming older than his actual years. 

Read: Every Day Old Lady Sees Lonely Triplets Playing All Day Long on the Beach and Follows Them — a Short Story

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A Mothers Duty

When Daniel started high school, he was suddenly extremely busy. Sandra noticed that he would stay out all day riding his bike around town. His grades started dropping, which was a major red flag for her, but she was at a loss for what to do. Whenever she asked him what he was doing they ended up arguing – her husband had always teased her about her temper. 

One day, Daniel was returning home from school after a long and difficult day. As he got to the top of the stairs, he found it strange to see there were no lights in their apartment. When he walked in, he saw his mother sitting by the sitting-room window, a glass of wine in her hand. She was not a big drinker, so he knew something was wrong. Daniel walked over to his mother. He could see her reflection in the window because it was dark outside. His heart sank, he had never seen his mom look so deeply worn out before.

She was startled when she realized he was there and she quickly turned her expression into one he was more familiar with. Soon he realized it wasn’t an entirely happy expression either. He asked her what the matter was and she tried to shrug it off, saying something about the duties of mothers and it is not his responsibility to be worried about her. Daniel put one hand on her shoulder to make her stop and listen. He assured her that they are a team and he can handle it. Sandra sighed, he really had grown up a lot. 

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The Truth Revealed

She told him briefly, without going into too much detail, that she was struggling to make ends meet no matter how hard she tried. She was falling behind on a lot of things, and today their power was cut off because she could not pay the electricity bill. Daniel listened intently, he had no idea that his mother was struggling this badly. He told her to wait there, and he quickly went to retrieve something from his room. He came out holding a box that he handed over to Sandra. He told Sandra that John had given him the box before he died. He said to only take it out and give it to his mom when the time was right. 

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Sandra stood dumbfounded. Daniel handed it over to her and she opened it up with trembling fingers. Inside was a note that explained how he had kept this aside for a rainy day, and was giving it to their son for safekeeping in case the worst were to happen. Behind the note was a cheque worth $15,000! Elated at the idea of being debt-free for the first time in years, she took the note and the cheque and put them in the drawer with all her husband’s notes that she had kept. That is when she noticed that the writing looked very different from his other notes.  

After confronting Daniel, he admitted that it was not, in fact, from John, but from Daniel himself. When Sandra thought that he was riding around town on his bike aimlessly, he had actually taken on a job working as a delivery boy for a local courier company. Sandra felt so guilty forever arguing with him about not being home often enough.

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All is Okay in the End

Daniel went on the explain that his boss at the courier company was very pleased with his hard work, and how eager he was to take on extra shifts at little to no notice. He had the chance to briefly explain his family’s story, and his boss empathized with their struggle having gone through something similar when his own father died.  He offered Sandra a job as a manager for one of the branches, and she eagerly agreed.. Not only that, but he had inherited his parent’s place after his mother finally passed, and he wanted Sandra and Daniel to move in for as long as they needed. That meant they could get out of that dreaded apartment building, and Sandra would have a garden to plant flowers again.  

This story was inspired by an original piece of fiction that first appeared on AmoMama. Any similarities between this story and actual people is purely coincidental

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Jade Small
Freelance Writer
Jade is a freelance writer and content creator from South Africa with over 7 years experience writing and creating. She's also a proud single mom to a super 13 year old boy.
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