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Man's stepdad digs up his time capsule without permission; 'you stole my memories.' UPDATED

Man's stepdad digs up his time capsule without permission; 'you stole my memories.' UPDATED


"Stepdad unearthed my time capsule"


Hello all, this is my first post so bear with me. Here’s the back story:

When the clock hit midnight on the year 2000 all the members of my family and extended family were there. We all signed a paper and each put something into a time capsule.

Shortly after, my grandfather passed away from a brain tumor. I was 9 at the time and my grandmother and I buried the time capsule behind the headstone at the cemetery. She told me to take it out in 10 years and have a look. No one else was there for that.

I don’t remember much of what was put in there because I was so young. 2010 came and went and I didn’t feel like taking it out yet. Not much had happened in 10 years so I wanted to wait longer. Fast forward to 2022.

My grandmother died after living a long and full life. I disclosed to my family about the time capsule when we were at the graveyard and it seemed like my stepdad took interest (parents were divorced and mom married him 2008). I confirmed it was still there by poking a small wooden stake in the ground and poked around till I hit something solid. Decided it was still too early and wanted to wait longer.

Today, my mom and stepdad took a trip to the cemetery. I got a picture in the family chat showing him unearthing the time capsuleI. was p!ssed and still haven’t responded. I don’t know how to go about this. I don’t know if I should tell him how much it meant to me to be the one to take it out. Or should I just brush it off.

It’s one of those things I think about every once in a while and get more excited as time goes on. I don’t even remember what I put in there. Could have been a toy car or whatever. But I don’t know. Am I an a-hole for being upset about this? Thank you in advance.

Here were the top rated comments from readers:


You're NTA for having the feelings that you have. But could become an AH depending on how you handle and express those feelings. From here out, I'd focus on what do you want to get out of the situation now? Do you want to see everything that was in the time capsule? Or would you like them to re-wrap it up and you can have a surprise later?

The OP responded here:


Thank you for you reply. I agree with you. My step dad and I have a great relationship and he’s been there for me. I don’t think he intended to cause harm or anything. Just think curiosity got the better of him. Yeah I’d like to see everything in there now.

What’s done is done and I don’t feel like turning this into a mess will make anything better in the long run. I don’t want them to re bury it. I think I was more excited to go there eventually and unearth it myself. (It’s in another state)


Wtf who does that? If someone told me they buried a time capsule my first response would NOT be to steal their experience and dig it up. NTA and i would bring it up with stepdad that he overstepped and it wasnt his to dig up. He wasnt even there when it went into the ground…


He’s a huge a-hole for that. That wasn’t his place to do.

NTA to you.


NTA but your stepdad AND your mom are, big ones. Why would she allow this knowing that it had nothing to do with him, it wasn’t his family at the time it was buried so I don’t even understand why he would even be curious about it.

Plus they could’ve told you they were taking a trip to do this but hid it from you instead then surprised you with it in the group chat. If I was one of the other family members I would be pissed that some interloper that had no relation to the capsule dug it up because of his “curiosity.”

Two days later, the OP returned with an update.

"Update: stepdad unearthed my time capsule"


Hello all! I figured I’d post an update on what transpired. To those who didn’t read my first post: basically I buried a time capsule with my grandma 23 years ago after my grandpa's death. A year ago, when she passed, I disclosed to my family about the time capsule and how I wasn’t ready to take it out yet.

A few days ago I got a text with a picture showing my step dad exhuming my time capsule from behind my grandparents' headstone. I was a mess for a few days. I was trying to figure out why it bothered me so much that he did that without my permission.

There is so much hurt going on recently in the world and this was such a small thing in the big picture. But I had been waiting for that moment most of my life and it was taken away from me. I am a very calm person and it takes a lot to get to me.

I don’t know if it was the sum total of stressors in my life and the anger that I’ve bottled up over the years. But, I was honestly considering calling off Thanksgiving with them over this. Crazy.

So, basically, I sent a text to my stepdad saying that I was very upset that he took it out of the ground without my permission. Instead of apologizing he said he thought I would be happy that he found it and was just trying to locate it for me. I knew exactly where it was since I was 9 and I never asked for help finding it.

I told him that I was not happy about it at all and that it meant a lot to me and the moment has been ruined. He then told me that he will put it exactly where it was. And in his words “no harm no foul”. He didn’t apologize at this point. So I decided to not reply and continue stewing.

I just got a text from him saying that he sincerely apologizes for what he did and that his intention was to map out exactly where it was for me to find in the future. When he took it out of the ground, he found that the seal had corroded and sand/dirt was inside. So he was going to take it out because it had been compromised.

I need to let go of the feelings I had over this. I have no idea why it brought me from 0 to 10 so fast. I’m going to forgive him and let it go. I’m only hurting myself and my relationship with my stepdad by blowing this up.

However, I will not be disclosing anything like this to him again. My sweet wife was so supportive and said that we can make our own time capsule for our daughter (born this year) to dig up years from now. That made it much better for me. Thank you all for your support.

Here were the top rated comments after the OP's update:


He ruined something he was never a part of.

I would remove it and bury it somewhere else. Open it when you're ready to.


That was an important moment! You weren't ever prepared to feel that be taken away. Especially since it's tied to the loss of loved ones who shared that special moment. It was an invasion of a precious memory and seems you still are mourning them if you weren't ready to open it.

Give yourself some time and space. You deserve to be the one to open it but people are so oblivious especially when it comes to others. Don't be afraid to set boundaries and know you can take control from this point on what you want going forward.


"in his words 'no harm no foul'"

I don't want to exaggerate but hearing this would make me feel like burying his body back with the time capsule.


On a practical note, if this spurs any of you to make your own time capsule, I strongly encourage you to vacuum seal or at least seal anything that you put inside of the capsule.

It is very common for them to leak over time and many of the things people think to put inside them do not tolerate this well. Vacuum sealers are a somewhat common household appliance, ask around I'm sure you can borrow somebody's.


"No harm, no foul"

No man, it's the fact that you deliberately betrayed someone's trust when they disclosed something extremely personal to them. I could understand if this was a family member who was involved with the original creation and burial of the time capsule, but stepdad didn't even have a horse in the race.


"No harm no foul" when said by the person who committed the transgression is about as useful as "It's just a prank bro!" in negating the hurt feelings. If it had been OOP who said it then it's fine! But nope, it's the stepdad who said it.

So, does it seem understandable that the OP was upset that her stepdad unearthed her memories without her permission? Was it meant as an act of love? Should she forgive him?

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