When a loved one passes away, there's no doubt it's a very sad occasion. There's a lot to do to prepare for it––funeral arrangements, tending to the will, and taking care of their things. While doing all of this, people learn a lot about the newly deceased. Sometimes, what they learn should never have seen the light of day.
People on Reddit share the disturbing secret they learned after a loved one died. Content has been edited for clarity.
"I was doing research trying to build out a family tree and wanted to found out about my Grandfather who died about four years before I was born. We never really talked about him or how he died. I found an article about his death in 1978 and a corresponding police report number for an arrest of my grandmother in the same year. I didn’t immediately put the two together, but once I did I put in a FOIA request for the case file.
Apparently, my grandfather was in ill health and had a few strokes and needed A LOT of assistance, assistance my grandmother grew tired of doing. One day, he was sitting in his chair and she just snapped and stabbed him numerous times, killing him.
She was arrested and tried and was found not guilty by reason of insanity. She spent some time in an institution, only to be let out in 1981, the year before I was born to move in with my family. As she lived in our home, she basically raised me from a child. She was the sweetest lady in the world and this SHOOK me.
When I asked my dad about it if it were true and how he could let her alone in our home with me as a child his response was 'Oh, you didn’t know that? Well, you turned out alright.'"
"My grandfather never talked about his life as a teenager. All he told me was he was raised on the island of Java in the 1940s, even though he was German/Dutch in origin. When he passed, he left me the autobiography he wrote for after his death.
Apparently, his father (my great-grandfather, who I'm named after) was a radio engineer for the Dutch government building long range radio stations. He and his siblings attended a boarding school in the Black Forest in Bavaria. His parents came to visit and discovered he had been forced into the Hitler Youth. So, they grabbed the three siblings and took them to Java.
All was well until the Japanese invaded. The Japanese immediately made a beeline to their cottage, as their reconnaissance had told them my great grandfather was a radio engineer. The Japanese then proceeded to take their family hostage in order to force him to build radio stations to support their invasions. My grandfather was separated from his family at the age of 16 and placed in six different prison camps over the course of the war.
In 1945, at the end of the war, he was at a prison camp outside of Kyoto. The day the emperor of Japan surrendered and bowed to the Americans, the Japanese army was ordered to surrender to the nearest, highest ranking westerner. As my grandfather was the oldest person in his camp, he ended up in charge of the camp and its 300 troop garrison for three days until the US Marines arrived. He wrote that he had spent those three days trying to travel to see Kyoto since he had been living outside of it for over a year. However, the Marines arrived one day before he was to go there.
He was taken to the USS Missouri to be on deck as one of the witnesses to the signing of the Peace Treaty and then taken to the Philippines to a US naval hospital to try to get him healthy again. It was there he developed a lifelong love of pancakes, as that was what they fed him in order to get him back to a healthy weight.
I had never known that about him until I read what he left me. He also left me a lot of other interesting things as I'm his only male grandchild. A family tree and genealogy that traces our family's history back to 1276 (gotta love German recordkeeping), a ball cap from the USS Missouri that he got when he arrived, a US Marine issued field jacket one of the Marines gave him to keep him warm, and, my personal favorite, the original pamphlet that was dropped over his prison camp in 1945 announcing the end of the war and that the Marines were coming to liberate them."
"My dad had this mistress for whom he paid all the bills. This even included her college bills––she was probably like 30 or 35? He was 44 when he died. The college thing really hurt my mom, as she always wanted to go herself but there was never money.
Anyways, the woman had the nerve to show at his funeral. She didn't stay, but went by the casket to say goodbye. It was really terrible of her to do. My mom found out about their relationship before his passing, but he had tried to make amends. He told her he and the woman were done and my mom stayed because of her three kids. My dad would often threaten to kill my siblings and me, my mom, and then himself if she left.
We caught him cheating long before that as well. My mom went through so much trouble with that guy. I don't really miss him at all, and I'm glad I didn't get to grow into an adult having him in my life. My mom endured a lot because of him; I do not know how I could possibly go through what she did. She's a true hero."
"My nana always gave me a kind of uneasy feeling when I was around her. I didn't adore her or anything, but I definitely thought of her as just a regular old lady up until her death.
Then, after she died, my mom confessed to me that my nana used to be a religious zealot. So much so, she would scream at her for hours for having her fly down, or wearing slightly-tight jeans, because she was 'inviting the devil' or something. She would take my mom and her brother into the backyard and force them to brutally beat each other with sticks. When my mom's brother was killed in a car accident, my nana openly mocked him at the funeral, stating he deserved to die, that he was burning in purgatory, good riddance.
She was a monster. My mother had to run away at 18. My nana only 'calmed down' when my mom had kids, because she'd wanted 'grandbabies,' and being the forgiving person my mom was, she let her back into her life on the promise she never did to us what she'd done to her.
My mom may have forgiven her, but I haven't. She didn't really change, on the inside. Looking back, I can see just how much my nana's abuse shaping my mother's life/mental health for the worse. She never ended up 'recovering' in the end. Awful. So awful."
"I went through a nasty break up with my oldest kid's mom that lasted several years. We were never married, but she was crazy as heck so she told the hospital she didn't know our kid's father just so she could have leverage over me. You know, like a sane person does. Years later and after several investigations into child abuse, she lost custody.
Over the next several years we kept getting oddly specific complaints about things going on in my house about my daughter and her step mom specifically. Dumb things like matching clothes or details about how we do time out.
My mom died two years ago, and when we switched her Facebook to memorial mode, I saw she had been talking bad about me for years to my ex. She was essentially spying on me for her and twisting information. I'm guessing it's because she felt bad for a mother that lost her kid, but it was still a mean move. It's been two years, and I still refuse to visit her grave with my siblings. I haven't shed a tear for her since."
"I've never actually told anyone this, but my dad passed away about 20 years ago when I was 15. He worked putting in skylight glass for big buildings like malls and stuff. According to the details, one of the crates on the forklift was tipping and he tried to stop it and no one came to help and it crushed him. That's what we kids were told...
It wasn't until three years ago I found out though a guy dad worked with what really happened. No one was even there on the job but said guy and my dad. They were closing up shop. My dad had been discussing things like suicide with this guy. When the guy turned his back, my dad shot himself in the head with the weapon he brought.
There was no forklift accident, he wasn't crushed. The guy made it look that way so we kids would end up with an inheritance and a lump sum payment. I cried for days. Thank you Clark for setting all that up. You didn't have to change our lives for the better, but you did."
"One of my cousins was murdered when I was 12. At the time, my parents told me that it was a gang initiation, and the guy stabbed my cousin while he was on his way home from work one night; a completely random kill.
Fast forward a few years later: my parents told me the truth. My cousin was married and was actually on his way to see his mistress. The killer was most likely the mistress's boyfriend at the time. The killing happened in the Philippines, so the police didn't give a care about it or follow it up, but my family believes that he killed my cousin. The guy even attended his funeral.
At the end of the day, it doesn't change how I feel about him or the good times we spent together, but it really saddens me because his death just feels so avoidable if he hadn't been cheating on his wife. Before it just felt like it was a wrong place, wrong time situation and there was nothing he could do differently to change that, and in some ways that felt better.
On the bright side, he did leave behind two beautiful children, one from his wife and one from his mistress. They have a sibling relationship with one another, which is nice to see."
"I found out my grandfather isn’t my mother’s father after he committed suicide. My grandfather had been depressed after my grandmother passed, she was the love of his life and they had a marriage that seemed as perfect as can be. He adored my grandmother, which was clear to see. He also adored my mother. My grandfather was a man who had a lot of love to give, but always seemed troubled.
He hung himself, and my mother and I found him. What no one else but me knows is that there was a suicide note. I found it, skimmed over it and my heart nearly stopped. I hid it. In the note he wrote that he was not her real father, that was someone else. He had always known, but hadn’t even let my grandmother know that he knew. Never said a word about it to anyone to avoid the people he loved getting hurt. My mother’s real father was probably my grandparents’ landlord. My grandparents were poor and the landlord would regularly show up to the house to collect 'rent.'
He never told anyone he knew because it would only cause hurt and nothing good would come of it. He didn’t want my grandmother to be looked down on, or my mother. He found out he was sterile three days before my grandmother told him she was pregnant with my mother. The reason he hung himself was because he overheard a phone conversation from my mother’s side with my mother’s aunt. As I said, he was severely depressed after my grandmother passed (this was just under a year after) and he visited my mother pretty much every day. What he overheard was my mother telling her aunt that it was becoming hard to have him around every day. I know my mom didn’t mean it the way he understood it, but it drove him over the edge.
My mom also doesn’t know this, that he heard her telling someone he was a burden. And it would destroy her. Just as it would to find out he isn’t her father. And my mother is a good person, she truly is. He wrote that he couldn’t live with it anymore, and that if she thought that about him, she should know the truth and everyone would be better off without him. I also know that that was the depression talking. This was NOT the person my grandfather was."
"When I was 14, my aunt died very suddenly. She was only 37, but she had a lot of health problems. As a family, we had tried our best to encourage her to get healthier, but disappointingly, she never listened to us.
Nonetheless, she was always happy––smiling, laughing, always complimenting me and saying how much she loved our family. I never understood why someone with such cheer and utter happiness could end up in the situation she was in.
While I was spending the night with a distant cousin of mine, we got into a deep conversation about my aunt. We both spoke our feelings about the death, including my confusion for why she had so many problems.
My cousin looked at me with an 'Oh no, you don’t know?' kind of look. I asked what happened, but she hesitated. She asked me to not tell anyone I heard it from her. I said of course, and pushed her to tell me.
She explained how when my aunt was about 17, her mom (my grandma) had just gotten married to another man. His brother (let’s call him 'T') was very close with my aunt. Apparently, they went out to ice cream and looked at fancy cars that he promised to buy her. When my cousin was telling me this, I was confused, because it’s just an uncle and niece type of thing. Why is that so bad?
Well, one night, my aunt had to spend the night at T’s house while her parents worked graveyard shift. My cousin didn’t exactly know what happened, but it was heavily implied and speculated that they slept together, or even worse, he assaulted her. This was because after that night, my aunt asked to spend the night over and over again. She basically begged to see T everyday. T and her parents eventually got tired of it, and said that she wasn’t allowed to go over there again.
T never acted the same around her. He ignored her at family events, didn’t take her out anymore, and never brought her up or even talked about her in conversations.
After that, my aunt struggled to find a real boyfriend and even tried experimenting with girls. She never knew what real love was, and it was obvious that it bugged her. She had been played with by this tool and left in the dust.
She eventually got a husband and had my favorite cousin that I love oh so much. But life wasn’t kind to her. And I guess drinking her life away was her way to cope. It hurts to think that she passed thinking that she was nothing but a waste, when in reality, she was a blessing to everyone who came in contact with her.
It’s been three years since she passed and I miss her dearly. I wish I could tell her how much I love and appreciated her."
"My 'aunt' died. She was my mom's best friend. To me, she was a saint. I met her when I was seven––only to find out she'd talked trash about my mom, and was two faced most of their friendship. She would talk trash about my mom to my mom's blood relatives. Almost 20 years of friendship, helping her through cancer, poverty, kids, and then by her side on her deathbed. How could someone do that? I attended the funeral, then the following week everyone had something to say about how cruel she was. But they didn't say anything because she was my moms friend. Yet, they respected my mom? Even though they all sat there while my aunt basically bullied my mom.
That's what I don't get. You're my basically like my mom's blood relative, but you're laughing and snickering at the expense of my mom, taking money and time from her yourself, then righteously saying you care about her too much so you didn't warn her that her supposed best friend was a snake!?!?
Everyone was scheming on my mom while she was just being nice. They were laughing that she was naive because they are fraudulent.
I still don't get it. I look at everyone (family members) the same now. No one's special. I don't trust anyone. Also, no one is invited to my mothers funeral. It seems she was the odd one out because everyone else likes to involve themselves on messes. I don't want crocodile tears in my face, nor on my mom's. The dramatic antics were real at my aunt's open casket."
"My great uncle was an amazing man. He was an oil man his whole life, working in the fields of Casper, Wyoming. A byproduct of working in these oil fields for 40 years meant that he inhaled oil nearly every working day of his life. In spite of the slowly progressive cancer filling his lungs, he lived a perpetually brilliant life, full of meaning and love for others. His daily routine was to drive around Casper, Wyoming, saying hi to all his friends, the people that knew and loved him, and giving away Susan B Anthony quarters and buckeyes to keep in their pockets to newly made friends along the way. I still remember watching the space station go overhead at his house, just before it was supposed to burn up on reentry.
My great uncle had many passions, but perhaps his greatest was a love for pre-Communist Chinese, oriental furniture. He showed my sister and I the way you can tell a piece of oriental furniture is genuine is that it will have a secret compartment, somewhere within it.
He had five pieces of this furniture in his house, and my sister and I figured out where four of the secret compartments were, but we could never figure out the fifth.
The day we went over to his house after he died, I found the fifth secret compartment.
Inside it, I found a stack of nearly $10,000 cash and a letter on national hemlock society letterhead.
On the letter he explained that he been in pain for a long, long time and that on he and his wife’s last trip to Mexico, he had purchased a large quantity of nitroglycerin tablets and would be using them to stop his heart.
In a house full of mourning people, I tried to get my mom's attention to the letter, but she shooed me away, so I went and pestered my father. Eventually, with annoyance, he listened to what I said. I whispered it in his ear, because I didn’t want to traumatize a house full of grieving people. I never knew if he told my great uncle’s son, now the CEO of a Fortune 500 construction company.
This has forever changed the way that I feel about assisted suicide. My great uncle was one of the happiest men I ever knew. He owned horses, and every morning he would open his window and neigh at them. They would call back, and that’s how he knew they were OK and it was all right for him to get up and start his day.
I just have such a hard time squaring that a man with such a tangible love of life would leave it and not tell anyone."
"My mom was raised by her mom (now 92, and an evil old bat) and her awful stepfather. Where was dad? He died when she was 11, allegedly. That's what my grandmother said. This would have been around 1961.
Flash forward to 2015: my sister is doing genealogy work on the family. She finds out not only did my biological grandfather not die in 1961, he died in 2005. And, he had five more daughters, one of which he gave the same name as my mom. My mom got cheated out of a potential relationship with her dad by her liar of a mom (who moved and remained hidden from her ex, my mom's real dad).
My grandmother moved down to Texas from Virginia to stay in a nursing home, and basically make my mom and dad's life awful. We went to visit one weekend and she came over for dinner. I dropped the bomb on her that we'd figured out she'd been full of IT for 50 years and she then had the nerve to act offended. My dad told her to get out."
"A paternal great uncle of mine (we'll call him 'A') died when I was five. It was a closed casket funeral, and I remember asking why. My mom told me it was because he was shot.
Skip forward to my late teens: I learn that A committed suicide with a weapon outside a bar one night because he thought the police were after him. The weapon was never recovered by the police. This bar happened to be owned by my maternal aunt's ex husband J.
Skip again to 22: A's brother B was accused of possessing child photos and touching a minor. I expressed my complete shock to my mom, who seemed pretty unfazed. She told me she and some other family members had long-held suspicions that A and B were 'alike' in certain ways.
A touched one of his niece's friends. A was somehow tipped off that the police were going to arrest him for child touching and shot himself. After calling the police, J called my dad to give him the heads up about what happened; there was obviously some sort of conversation about the weapon, because J stole the weapon from the crime scene and met with my dad that same night to give it to him. The weapon is some sort of family heirloom from WWII that had belonged to my great grandfather. J stole it so the weapon would stay in the family instead of being put away in an evidence locker.
B is currently in prison where he will die before serving out his sentence."