78 People Reveal Secrets They Discovered About Their Family Members After They Passed Away
People don't like to think about death. It's something far away in the distance, we tell ourselves, something that happens to others who are a lifetime away from where we are.
It's only when death comes close to us — when someone close to us gets sick, or even worse, passes away — that everything changes. We suddenly realize how fragile life is, and how finite time is.
But sometimes, we discover a bit more. Whether it's a deathbed confession or people just piecing information together, we learn something new about the one who has passed away, too. Truth has a tendency to come out.
There's a discussion on Reddit that has platform users sharing the shocking secrets they discovered about their loved ones only after their death, and it serves as a grim reminder, that you can never truly know a person.
#1My maternal grandmother was a con artist and lived life on the run since she was 21 years old. I have since uncovered 7 different marriage certificates around different states, marrying different men, and I suppose funding her lifestyle. I also believe she abducted my mother from a hospital as we’ve found her real birth mother now, aged 91. It’s an insane story I’ve uncovered.
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#2My maternal grandmother we found after she had passed was using 10% of her income to sponsor unfortunate kids all over the world. She had been doing it for the last 40 years of her life nonstop. We found letters of her giving those kids advice, and then keeping in contact with them pretty much their whole lives. She received pictures of them growing up, and having families.
Essentially, my grandmother had far more than 5 kids She helped to raise, and more grandchildren and great grandchildren than we ever knew. Most of the kids she sponsored were orphans. We spent the next several months after her death getting in touch with all these people. Some managed to attend her funeral, some to this day made a trip to where we spread her ashes, and sent us photos of them there.
We knew she was a saint to us, but we didn't know she was a Saint to hundreds of children spanning 4 decades.
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#3That my grandmother lied about all her recipes
I used to ask for copies of recipes of my favorites but I could never make it taste right. I'd cook things with her that when I did it with her helping never tasted right. Always got the "oh don't worry, it takes practice". Thought I was just a terrible cook for years. When clearing out her home after she passed away recently, my dad found a secret stash of recipes very well hidden. Turns out all the "copies" she wrote for us were wrong, deliberately. I'm 43 and just started making these recipes again off her secret stash recipes and wouldn't you know, I can make them so they taste they way they should.
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#4That he was a millionaire and he set aside the money to pay for my kids to go to private school. Thanks, Uncle.
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#5My Grandfather died almost 2 years ago. He suffered from Parkinson's for 15 years and that lead to other health issues. In his last few years his cognitive abilities were very compromised. In a brief moment of clarity though he wrote a long note for my Grandma. It was a collection of memories from the time they got married, purchased a ranch, had children and other life moments. It was very sweet and so precious. He didn't give it to my Grandma, so she discovered it many months after his passing.
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#6Grandma was a Russian spy in the Cold War. Wild.
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#7My great Aunt Bernice was always "lovingly" referred to by the family as "Bernice the Wh*re" because she had a bunch of babies and told the family that she left them with various family members across the country immediately after birth. I did some Ancestry.com research and discovered that aside from the 3 living children everyone knew, she lost six babies- three stillbirths that were a year apart respectively, then stillborn twins, then a baby girl who lived two days. Poor Bernice. She somehow felt that there would be less stigma attached to the idea that she was leaving her children over and over than the reality of her losses.
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#8Grandma was a closeted lesbian. When we were going through her house after she passed we found a lot of lesbian paraphernalia. I thought it was hilarious.
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#9My dad was a car salesman when he was alive, however when he died, I learned that he was actually a drug trafficker and transported drugs all over the country in the cars that he was transporting and selling.
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#10My grandpa was a preacher in a little town in south Carolina in like the early 50s. He preached at the white church most of the month and would go preach at the black church once a month to give their preacher a break. He struck up a friendship with one of the guys at that church and eventually wore the guy down enough that he came to the white church for a visit. See, Grandpa had never experienced these people as being anything less than totally welcoming and he thought they all believed as he did, that *everyone* is a child of God and welcome in church, no matter who they were.
So, the poor guy comes in and is made to sit in the very last row and is totally ignored. They wouldn't even bring communion to him. Grandpa got down from the pulpit, ripped the communion stuff out of someone's hands, and took it to his friend himself. Then, he got back up at the outfit and yelled at everyone about how God loves everyone equally and doesn't differentiate based on color and made quite a stink. There was a cross burning on his lawn that night. He had little kids and a wife to take care of so he couldn't fight the way he wanted to. Two weeks later he moved back to his hometown in Texas, where they accepted Grandpa and his beliefs in people's equality much more readily.
WHY I wasn't told about this before Grandpa died, I'll never know. He was a class act from beginning to end. What every Christian is supposed to be and so few manage.
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#11After my dad passed away, my family decided it was finally time to clean out the attic. My dad would keep everything from old TVs to old tax documents from when he owned a business. I came across a box that was really heavy. I opened the box and saw a bunch of paperwork, and on the top said '(My Dad's Name) vs. The United States of America'. That's when I learned my dad was in federal prison back in the '70s for import fraud, and that he had a lot of ties to the mafia.
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#12My mom was a private music teacher and after she died we went through her books. It turns out half of her clients were 'on scholarship', i.e., not paying at all. They just got free lessons for years. She was a saint and didn't tell a soul.
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#13Oh ok I got this one
My mom’s late boyfriend. Really great guy. Colon cancer and passed at age 54. He was a lifelong firefighter after the army. He joked all the time about being a spy in Vietnam. Always joked about having a third degree black belt. Just on and on
You never knew if you could take him seriously
So he passed. Sad times of course. I help mom clean out his house. We find his old war chest from the Spanish American War. Was passed down
Opened it up and god damn…I start finding all sorts of papers marked Top Secret. All sorts of coded messages. I could make out bits of things but it was in verbiage I didn’t understand
And hey look there is a black belt that is rather old
He wasn’t lying the whole time
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#14My grandmother was a mafia mistress and my dad was the product of an affair with a married man and not the man who raised him. Also found out the the string of really bad luck she had in the 60s was actually that man trying to get rid of her because she went full Glen Close in Fatal Attraction crazy on him when he tried to break off the affair.
We met our long lost family after I took a dna test and we are afraid of them.
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#15Uncle Ingram was apparently a sperm donor back in the 1950s. New cousins pop up on 23andme every couple of years.
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#16For context: I’m a hairstylist and don’t have a good relationship with my sister-in-law at all. Anyway, she would always come to get services done by me while I went to cosmetology school, like lashes, haircuts, and color services. She would tip VERY generously, which I found odd, considering she was also very frugal with her money. Cut to my last few weeks of school, she stopped tipping completely, even after doing four-hour services on her. Nada. Well, it turns out that my mom (who passed away in September) had been giving her money to give to me as a tip. I cried when I realized that too late to thank my mom.
#17My mother comes from a wealthy Sicilian landowning family. When she got together with my father, a penniless half-Calabrian, her family did everything to make this union end.
They offered him money, a good job but he always refused. My grandmother then decided to pay a local gang to beat and threaten my father that if he did not leave my mother, they would kill him and feed his corpse to the pigs. Just before this happened my mother announced that she was pregnant with me so they were forced to marry before I was born.I found this out recently when my grandma's sister passed away. My cousin, reading the correspondence she had with my grandmother, found the letter explaining all this and sent a copy to me.
This is a picture of my mom, nonna and dad at their wedding. Look how happy she is!
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#18My grandfather was a bank executive at a small bank in a farm town in Arkansas. After his death my mother found a ledger in his safety deposit box. He made loans to people the bank had denied due to background, type of employment and/or skin color. He made the loans from his own pocket. Most of the loans were between $200 to $500. He charged a nominal percentage rate and everything he earned in interest he donated to the church. My grandmother had no idea and was heartwarmed when she found out. He died in 1972.
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#19My dad died in 1988. He was a smart man; a qualified engineer who worked for Lucas, Lotus and Fafnir during his career.
During my childhood in the '70s I, like most little boys of that era, was fascinated by space, rockets and astronauts and dad always encouraged my interest. He'd buy me books and toys that were space related, and would talk about spacey things with me for hours on end. With his help I turned into such a space nerd that in my first year of secondary school (US: 6th grade), when we each had to give a 5-minute talk during English about a topic we were passionate about, I talked for over 30 minutes about the stellar life cycle.
I found out only a few years ago from mum that he believed that the Moon landings were a hoax.
My brain literally stalled; I was speechless and couldn't process it.
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#20One of my grandfathers died some years back. My last surviving grandparent, my mom's father. He was a pretty hard dude. He was a partisan fighter in WWII, despite being barely past his teens for much of the war. Immigrated to the US, married my grandma, got his teaching degree despite having had to learn English on the fly. Really inspiring.
But when he died, my mom and I were the ones who went through all the belongings. We found children's books, in Polish (my grandfather was born in Poland,) dated to the 1920s. Either he brought them over, or he had them sent over. It's just really telling to me, that my hard-a*s grandpa wanted to keep books he presumably had as a child. I own them now. They're like treasure to me.
#21My grandfather had a VHS collection of pornography (he passed away around 6 years ago) and it was all blonde women. Funniest thing to find though when you're mourning, I can tell you that for sure. Sentimental things everywhere. Pictures on his desk, the thumbprint tie I made for him for as a child and a MASSIVE box of pornography.
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#22My grandpa was a good, straight-laced, hardworking man. He liked gardening, and cooking meals from his native Poland. The only punk thing about him was this bada*s old tattoo on his arm, which we never asked about.
At his funeral, my uncle explained that he’d paid 12 cigarettes for that tattoo in a refugee camp. Turns out my gentle grandpa had been separated from his family by Nazis in the invasion, and sent to a forced labour farm. After the farm was liberated, he wound up in this refugee camp with other ex-slaves. We believe he bought the tattoo there to cover up some kind of slave number the Nazis gave him; kind of a way to bury the past behind him before building a new life from scratch in Australia.
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#23My mother died the day I found out I was pregnant with twins back in January. I found out she kept the pregnancy book she used for her pregnancy with me and was planning to give it to me when I became pregnant. Breaks my heart to know I didn’t get to tell her and see her excitement.
#24My great aunt never married and passed in her late 40s from cancer. She read a ton and kept all the books she read. My grandma (her sister) would brag about how well read she was. Going through her stuff after she passed, we found out that much of the reading was of dirty novels
#25My uncle passed away when I was about 2 years old. I went through some of his papers my grandparents keep as a memorial to him. I teared up. He wrote beautiful poetry and made gorgeous art. At that time my parents weren’t encouraging of my art and made me feel it was a waste of time. But in that moment, it connected me to my uncle and I didn’t feel like such an oddball.
#26My very German(He grew up in WW1 and Post WW1 Germany) Grand Father Fought in WW2 as a U.S. Infantryman. Signed up into the U.S. Army immediately after War was Declared while he was living in the U.S.
Due to his ability to Blend seamlessly with any German Unit(He grew up in Bavaria), He was rushed through Basic and saw combat from Africa, through Italy, The Netherlands, France, and finally back to Germany. Where at the end of the War, he presided as a Translator until it was his time to return back to the U.S.
He raised his family as Lutheran. BUT, based on the Last name, There is a possibility of our lineage being German Jewish. No one wants to talk about it in the family, and those who do, completely brush it off. the only ones who know for sure have since past and there's next to no official records of family origins due to Germany not having very good records of the family name.
If your wondering why a Born and Raised German was living in the U.S. and immediately joined the U.S. army, it's because we watched the Nazi's take over. He fled in 1939 right after the Annexation of Austria. He could stand how his own people became divided, how they treated his Jewish friends and neighbors. How they treated each other.
#27A bit late, but a bit of backstory: my grandfather was in the Yugoslav Navy, and one of the strongest swimmers in the country.
When my grandfather would want to pass time, he would go to beaches, sit around, basically lifeguarding the beach without getting paid, just because he was “bored”. He saved multiple peoples lives over the years. He passed away in late 2019, and my mother told me all kinds of stories about him after he passed, and this one stood out!
#28When my father's mother passed —so long ago I don't really even think of her as my grandmother. My mother's mother is still with us at almost 97 now— I found out I was a quarter Ukrainian.
My father was doing the paperwork that comes with a family death, and he tries to correct his mother's maiden name. It turns out the form he was reviewing was correct. She'd been born out in Saskatchewan to Ukrainian immigrants who suffered a lot of discrimination at the time. At 16 she hopped a train to Ontario, and when she got off she told everyone her maiden name was something suitably WASPy, married a nice Canadian boy, had three kids, and never told anyone she was Ukrainian. One of my aunts figured out something was up in her late teens when she found stuff written in Cyrillic in her mother's personal papers, but her mother asked her to respect her privacy, and she kept her lip shut until her mother passed.
As a kid, your grandmother is just your grandmother. It was a big surprise to me, and I'm still kind of taken aback that I was suddenly a quarter of something so different than the other three quarters of my ancestry, who have been in Canada and the New World a very, very long time. It's funny, looking at pictures of her now as an adult, she's the most Ukrainian looking woman you've ever seen, and my father takes after his mother, and I have more of my Dad in me than Mom looks-wise.
I was once invited to a Ukrainian family's BBQ, and some old woman grabbed me by the face and started pointing my head at people, "Western Ukraine! Western Ukraine!" She enthused in a thick accent. She then grabbed my date's face. "Eastern Ukraine! Eastern Ukraine!" I had to tell her my date was Irish-Italian without any Ukrainian in her at all. Still, half-right isn't too bad!
#29My great uncle was a pilot during World War II. I don’t remember if he flew a fighter or a bomber, but he flew a LOT of missions over Europe. I had no clue. The other men of that generation were farmers and didn’t have to serve because they were busy growing food for everyone.
#30I found out my stepfather had won the lottery, opened a small diner in a tiny town in the middle of the Ozark mountains, and lived in a cabin in the woods. When he divorced my mom, we knew he had ran off to Texas, got married to someone else and lived on her family farm. We all had just assumed that was the end of the story. I have found out in the last 3 years he had moved back closer to us after he won the lottery, had this restaurant, and lived a simple life in this mountaintop community. I’ve recently met a lot of the people he spent his final days with, reconnected with them, and it’s been an amazing bond. Me and my siblings were just amazed to know this interesting turn his life took after he left our mom.
#31My boyfriend died on April 5th, 2022. I found a card for a jewelry store with a ladies name and number written on it. Idk why, but I called. She remembered him. I found out that day, after he died, that he had been looking for the engagement ring I had been dreaming of having for years.
#32My father died a little over a year ago. About six months later a woman contacted my sister on Facebook suspecting that she (the other woman) was his daughter from a one-night stand he had 50+ years ago when he was in his early 20s. A DNA test has since confirmed she is correct. The birth took place before he met and married my mother, but the mother of the other woman says my father knew about the child because she told him. That SOB took his secret all the way to the grave with him. My sister and I have agreed not to tell my mother because, really, what good would come from doing so.
#33I knew my uncle, a priest and chaplain at a Catholic university, had smuggled birth control into campus. I found out at his funeral that he had helped at least two students, maybe many more, get off campus for abortions. I’m not Catholic or even Christian but I’m proud to have named my son after my late uncle.
#34My grandfather blew someone's leg off with a shotgun when they threatened him and his children(my father and his brother). My father said the guy was on the porch steps so when he blew it off the guy fell down the steps.
#35Growing up, we had a really close family friend that I always referred to as my "fairy godmother". She was amazing. My parents are divorced, worked all the time, had 5 kids, so we pretty much raised ourselves with very little. This woman always made me feel so special, bought me special gifts and toys that were deemed "cool" at the time (shout out to the original tamagotchis in the 90's). She even took my on big trips with her in the summer time when i was a young teen.
When i was in my late teens, My mom and her had a falling out, I don't really know why and it hurts my mom to even bring it up so I never really did. This woman ended up developing breast cancer and eventually died. I was able to see her and spend some time with her in her last few days.
Fast forward to a few months ago, their daughter that I lost touch with many years ago, was interviewed for donating an organ. In the interview she discussed how her mother (MY fairy godmother) was a raging alcoholic and would often find her mom passed out on the kitchen floor when she came home from school. She also noted that she had liver cancer for years as well as cirrhosis, all as a result from her drinking. This was a few months ago and I still feel gutted. How didn't I see that? Or even realize that something was amiss? Could I have helped in some way? Not as shocking as some stories, but it's rocked me.
#36Four women were seated to one side at my grandfather's funeral. They were obviously at ease with each other, chatting freely, but were NOT known family or friends. A few discrete inquiries revealed that they were my grandfather's four current girlfriends. Note that he died at the age of 96, and had an ex-wife and current live-in girlfriend. He was a 'man of commendable vigor,' by many standards.
#37My grandfather was involved in the Dixie Mafia. Two of my dad's houses that burned down - once as a kid, the other as a newlywed - weren't accidents.
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#38My great-grandfather was a bootlegger - he was a corn farmer, and during Prohibition, he constructed a still in the packing house and made corn whiskey. Made a nice little living for himself selling his hooch to neighbors and others nearby for years.
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#39After my father died, we found a booklet that told us that he had been sneaking off on weekends to do some parachute jumping. He did three jumps and was rated proficient. He would have been in his late 50s. My mom thought that he was going to his car club. She would have had conniptions had she known.
#40My grandad had cancer for at least half of my life (I'm 23).
When he was first diagnosed, he decided that he didn't want me or my siblings to know about it, as he didn't want us looking at him differently and worrying whether or not it would be the last time we ever got to see him. He was given 5-7 years to live, and he made it many more past that. Even towards the end, when it got harder to hide what he was going through, we still didn't know the full extent of it. I still don't know a lot of the details on when he was diagnosed with what.
He died in July 2020. I'm still extremely broken over it. But I also know that he didn't want us to hurt, he wanted us to smile and enjoy the time we had with him. So that's what I'm trying to do. Find a little piece of him in every day I live through, and try to enjoy whatever time I have left on this planet.
#41My mom has been very low contact with her only sister since before I was born. That aunt has two daughters and I had never met their father. I'm in my thirties now, but have only met these cousins maybe...five times and my aunt a handful of times so we are not close by any means. When I was around five or six, I was at my paternal grandmother's house and she received a call. She came back in a weird mood so I asked her what was wrong. She then told me that her ex husband (my grandfather) had just died. I never met him so I wasn't upset, but tried my best to comfort her. Out of no where my grandmother asked me about my cousins on my mom's side. I told her I'd only met them once before because my mom and aunt didn't get along. She then told me something rather shocking.
Turns out that my paternal grandfather had divorced my grandmother after five kids and over 20yrs of marriage for my maternal aunt. Soon after he divorced my grandmother, my grandfather ran away with my mom's sister (who was almost 30yrs younger than him) to get married and have children. My paternal family completely cut ties with both of them while my mom cut ties until my older sister was born, and even then communication was strained. So...it turns out that I unfortunately have an uncle/grandpa and two cousins who also happen to be my aunts.
Yes I live in the U.S. and no I do not live in Alabama.
#42Apparently the two things my great grandma wanted to do before she passed were to go on an airplane and to smoke a joint, if I'd have known I could have fulfilled at least one of those haha
#43Turns out my grandfather had a whole other family. We found out via one of those DNA family tree sites. They weren’t even in another state or somewhere far - they were like 15 minutes away in the next town over.
#44My husband found out his aunt was actually his grandma. His father grew up believing his grandmother was his mother - and that's what everyone believed. It rearranged the whole family dynamic as suddenly cousins became siblings/aunts and uncles ect. Been a couple years now, they're still getting used to it.
Father in law had mostly figured it out while she was still alive but....how do you say that. It was finally proven after papers were found after her passing.
#45My grandpa on my father's side was a serial killer. No one knew until he was on his final days, apparently he killed 8 and even admitted that there were probably some he had forgotten about.
#46Mom committed suicide. She had a suicide note I read years later. She titled it “through the other side of darkness”. It was a stupid book name that she thought of and wanted to write about how she made it through her hardships.
In fairness, she had a rough life. When she was 12, her mom was paralyzed neck-down from a car accident (was a partyer and rode with someone drunk that hit an 18 wheeler). Her dad was never there - when she finally made amends with him when she was 31, he died the next morning from a brain aneurysm. And around the age of 40 or so was in a car accident that f****d her physically and financially. RSD. We got t-boned in an intersection.
It could have been a good book if she made it through, but she didn’t. And what she wrote that was titled it was just a big “f**k you” to everyone in the family except for me. Weirdly enough I wish I could find it to read again. We never let one of my brothers know about it because of what she said about him in it. They just barely made amends after years of beef before she went through with it.
It just reminds me of someone taking a s**t in the middle of the room before leaving. Pathetic, really…. Ah well. It is what it is. She did the best with what she could and in a lot of ways she was still a good mother. Just unfortunate she is missing out on all my recent milestones in life since she thought I didn’t need her anymore (turned 19 and moved to dads to help grow up - long story). I reckon I don’t, but it sure would be nice to have her around still. My only hope is that she isn’t in hell and that I’ll get to see her again one day.
#47My uncle was the gentlest, most kind hearted man I knew. Always joking with us kids and making everyone laugh. He married into the family and was loved by everyone.
On the day of his funeral, the minister started talking about how he grew up. Then the minister continued on to the part no one, not even my aunt knew. She knew he was in the army in WWII but, nothing about what he did.
He was a combat medic. Landed on Omaha beach. Everyone in the room was silent, awestruck, by this revelation. The weight he must have carried thru his life, refusing to tell anyone, not even his wife of 50 years.
I realized he had seen the worst of life, been thru a literal hell on earth and chose to make everyone else's lives better because of it. Still brings a tear to my eye 18 years later.
#48When he was still alive, my father in law had two of the exact same car, an early 90s Citroen, and one was in great condition and the second was in mediocre condition. His thought was that if he bought the second car, he would probably never need to buy parts. His wife was not thrilled, but just mostly rolled her eyes.
When he passed, she found a set of keys in a pouch with paperwork for a garage across town. Turned out he must have needed just one more set of spare parts after all.
#49My dad passed when I was 6 years old, and he loved golf. My single mom couldn’t afford to put me in it, but I used to dabble at the local park. Finally, in college, I could afford the university rate of $200 all summer (‘92). One night I went out and joined two older guys. They saw my last name on my tag and asked if I was Joe’s kid. I was. I spent those nine holes learning about him crashing his Aston Martin, hitchhiking across Canada with just his wallet, and how much he could drink! But they didn’t leave out the fact that his crazy partying days ended when he met mom. That happened 30 years this summer, heck maybe to the week! But I’m still tearing up finishing this.
#50My mom had an extreme type A personality and liked things to be neat and clean. When I was growing up, my dad would tease her from time to time about using the vacuum outside. I thought it was a joke he had made up to poke fun at one of her quirks. After she died, I found out the joke wasn’t made up at all. One day, before they had kids, my dad had come home from work to find my mom vacuuming the outdoor patio with the aid of an extra long extension cord.
#51After my dad killed himself, I learned he did not in fact have brain cancer. It was a lie meant to ease his passing for himself and theoretically for those he left behind.
#52My dad never actually graduated from university. I found out when I was working on a memory book for my nephew about his grandpa. I went through some old binders and found some stuff from the university, but no certificate. I carefully asked my mom and she admitted it.
#53I found out that my grandma, who I was very close to, was actually a really mean and hateful person to everyone but me. I imagined her to be as loving to everyone as she was to me, but it turns out I was the only one she liked.
#54My parents regularly made onion breadsticks for my great-grandparents. For someone not aware, it’s bread cut into strips and onion soup mix mixed in butter and slathered on before baking until crispy. We found out after both had died that my great-grandma always kept one from each batch and hid it away in a Ziploc. She’d repeat until the bag was full and then start a new Ziploc. This went on for 10 years. We visited every other month. Imagine finding 60 of those in varying states of decay.
#55This is more about me than my grandmother but it is a secret she kept from me until the day she died.
I'm product of an affair my mom had after she and her then husband were at the edge of a divorce, I'm not going to make the long story but after I was borned my actual dad wanted to be part of my life with the only condition that he needed to be able to say he was my father but my mom had to tell him no because my grandmother told her not to do it because I was the "most expected child" in my enormous family and she didn't wanted anyone to know I was the product of an infidelity because she was afraid that her friends and the other members of the family would look down on her and my mother.
My mother told me all of this 3 years after my grandmother died out of regret for never telling me, I still love her and miss her but I'm angry that the whole reason I grew up without a father was because she was afraid of other people's opinions.
#56Nothing too shocking, but my grandma kept a picture of Barack Obama in her underwear drawer. Not sure why. He was just.... there.
#57My Grandmother passed a couple of years ago. She was in her 90’s; a wonderful, bright, classy lady whom I loved. She worked in strike command in the war (the girls moving the model planes on the big maps in the WW2 films), then worked at Bletchley Park towards the end of the war (it is known for being a major centre for allied codebreaking) and then when the war ended she went to work at the Coal Board (government organisation that managed the procurement and distribution of a critical resource at the time) where she met my Grandfather.
I started reading John Le Carre novels a few years ago after seeing one next to my Grandfather’s chair when visiting. In one book (I forget which) the ‘Coal Board’ is used as a euphemism for the secret service. I formed a theory that my Grandmother worked in British Intelligence in the years after the war, and so did my Grandfather.
Earlier this year I visited my Grandad; now in his mid 90’s, still heartbroken after losing his great love but doing much better now. We were chatting about my Grandmother over a cuppa and I told him my theory. He looked me dead in the eye and said ‘well it’s about time someone worked it out’. When I mentioned the theory to my Dad some weeks later he suddenly seemed to be flustered and changed the subject very quickly…
#58My granddad was a medic in WW2. It was an unspoken rule that you never asked him about his time in service. I didn't find out why until long after he passed away.
Towards the end of the war, he and his unit came across a burnt out barn. Inside were the bodies of POWs that had been locked inside and then the barn was set on fire.
It's also possible he helped to liberate concentration camps but we don't know for sure because he never talked about it. We only know the barn story because one night he got drunk and let it slip to my mother.
#59My dad thought I wasn't his kid due to my mom cheating on him with some rando from a bar just before she found out she was pregnant with me...long story I'll try to shorten: my dad was trusting wanted to give her a break and told her to go out. She got sh*tfaced went home with said rando woke up next to him. Confessed what happened to my dad who not only forgave her but helped her get rid of the crabs the bar guy gave her. Anyeay she said that, that might have been the reason he and I weren't close. I was 17 when she told me this and my father had passed away 3 months before. Years later I've given a lot of thought to this and realized that might have been why my grandpa didn't like me and favored my older sister and younger brother. When my dad was actively dying he came to see him asked my brother if he knew who he was and of course my brother said "you're my grandpa" he looked at me gave me a dirty a*s look and walked by me.
I am my father's kid I look quite a bit like him I think. At the same time I want to do a 23 and me test but I'm terrified about the "what if."
#60In Highschool my uncle lived with me and my dad. My uncle was a great guy, worked hard, cared about his son that he had just won custody of, helped me a lot in the time that he lived with us and was just an all around good person. My junior year of high school he died in his sleep, his girlfriend woke up to his dead body in their bed, I was just a few rooms down the hall and heard her screaming for my dad, I had no idea what was going on but my dad was just an absolute wreck screaming and crying; the only other time I had ever seen him cry was when my mom died. My family told me that my uncle died from sleep apnea.
Two years later my grandmother and I were talking about my uncle, how I missed him and what it would be like if he was still around for his son and so on. She let it slip that he actually OD’d on heroin. You would have never guessed he was an addict, he looked like he was entirely put together with a great job, multiple cars, a boat and an all round good life. This isn’t the end of it though.
A few months ago I was talking to my dad about just life in general and some of the things that happened in my childhood that hurt me (life wasn’t pretty for a while, my dad was an addict my whole life but is 4 years clean). My dad told me that HE was the one who gave my uncle the heroin that killed him. I couldn’t believe it when he told me, the amount of guilt he has on his shoulders because of it is so immense that I don’t know how he has managed to live with it. Can you imagine being the one to inadvertently cause the death of someone you love? I can’t imagine it. I love my father more than anyone, I feel for him because of it but he is the one who gave it to him. I don’t think anything could be worse than that.
#61I found out that my mother was advised not to have children because it would likely shorten her life. She had my sister and I anyway and No one ever breathed a word to us about it. She died in her late 40’s. I don’t feel guilty, it was her choice— but it was hard to hear and I think about it often.
#62We are reasonably sure that my uncle killed his father....
Grampa L, a part-time Southern Baptist preacher, was like many men of his generation. He went to work, came home expecting dinner on the table no later than ten minutes after he walked in the door, and would sit in his favorite chair in the parlor after dinner to read the paper and drink. He was a mean, abusive drunk and it grew worse after Gramma S was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, making her an "unfit wife."
That's when and why we suspect that Grampa L began assaulting his daughters, including my then 7-year-old mother and my then-17-year-old Aunt C. I don't know how long the assaults went on, only that one week after Uncle J graduated college, Grampa L "accidentally discharged his rifle while cleaning it for hunting season."
The only problem with the story is that Grampa L never participated in hunting season. Said hunting was for savages, in fact.... But Uncle J was well-known for being an avid and enthusiastic hunter.
#63This is real mushy but my dad died when I was just very tiny. I never knew him. Recently, I decided I’d read all the letters he’d written my mom while he was in the navy. He mentioned me in every single one. We had quite a lot in common. We both love Bob Dylan, the way we talk about ice cream, just little things like that. Big things to me, though
#64I was kicked out at 16, my best friends mother took me in as her own, she died yesterday, my best friend sent me a picture of her photo album titled, “my sons” and it was just pictures of my best friend and me. It’s been a pretty emotional last 24 hours.
#65My Grandfather was part of Hilter Youth when he was very young. He didn’t talk about this past much and was quite the a*hole until a stroke later in life. After he passed I took some of the old family photos that lined the walls going down the stairs at his house. They were all from people long gone and in no way sentimental to me, I really just wanted the frames. I took them home, shoved them in a drawer for future craft projects. Eventually like a year later I pull out one and take the back off to take the glass and old photo out…that’s when I see it. Behind the picture and staring at me was a glossy large photo of Hitlers face. It had been hidden and hanging on the wall for years.
#66I found out after my mom's dad passed away, that he might not be my grandpa after all. Turns out my grandma liked to sleep with a lot of men. My grandma slept with my grandpa's dad, my great- grandpa. Nine months later, my mother was born.
My mom was convinced that who she called her dad, was really her brother. It took a DNA test to prove that my grandpa was indeed my actual grandpa.
My grandmother on my mother's side also married into the Chicago mob. I heard some stories growing up. It wasn't until she passed away was when I found the hidden room in the attic. It had a bed and everything you would need to survive to hide away for a while.
#67My grandmother passed away five years ago. While my family was going through her belongings afterward (to prepare her house for sale), they found her birth certificate and she’d been born with a different first name. Never knew why she changed it - I wish I could ask her!
I was 20 when my father passed away. It was sudden and unexpected. So was coming home and having a talk with my mother a few months later when she pulled a picture of me out of my father’s wallet - only it wasn’t me, it was my older sister. My parents were both (unhappily) married to other people when they met, and my dad had a daughter from his first marriage. His relationship with her was a casualty of his divorce. His ex made excuses why his daughter couldn’t see him on his weekends, and he couldn’t afford to keep going to court over custody battles. He never saw his daughter again after the divorce was finalized.
I miss my dad so damn much. I’d do anything for one more day with him.
#68I found the bill for my sister’s dinner and drinks in her wallet. She never paid for the meal she ate the night before she died. My mom went to the restaurant and paid what was owing in the midst of her own pain. Now that was a valuable object lesson in moral character.
#69She was a school nurse many many years ago when she might have earned 15k a year.
Life long renter back when it was like cheap for a whole house.
Where did 153k in liquid savings come from?
She had a few prior fiance's that sort of randomly died.
No one in authority ever questioned her having this sort of money. So ok then.
#70On the evening of my fathers passing i commented to my my mother that i held onto the fact that they had loved each other for 50 years.
To be told that no, it was a loveless marriage, she was a lesbian who had wanted kids and some semblance of stability. They got together in the 50s when things were very different. She only started to like him a little when he got dementia and his mind/personality disappeared in the last few years.
Like a lightbulb going on, it explained sooo many things. I have some issues of my own that sprouted in that good soil.
#71A year after my parents divorced, my father took early retirement, sold the house and moved with his mother from Ohio to Florida. All of this was very sudden and rushed, he accepted the first offer that was made on the house. He died 18 months later. In his effects we found his medical records, he had pancreatic cancer, did nothing to treat it, and never told a soul. He found out, retired, moved someplace warm, and waited to die. Also found his medals from his time in the Marines, including a Bronze star, and Purple Heart. My father was the poster child for PTSD. A few years later, grandma and I had a real heart to heart. She said I never really met the real him, a piece of him never really left Vietnam. He died a broken and depressed man, told know one he knew his time was up.
#72My grandma couldn't read. She was dyslexic and labeled stupid. Teachers said it was a waste of time to teach her. She was smart, kind, strong. They should have taught her. She loved to listen to books on tape, I never knew that was the only way she could read.
#73A friend of mine recently found out that his great grandfather (a policeman) and grandmother immigrated to America via Canada… Via Argentina… From Germany… in 1945.
I laughed so goddamn hard when he told us that…
#74My dad's Uncle Bob was gay. Bob's wife Helen was a lesbian. They didn't have kids and basically passed as a straight couple their whole lives because it was just easier to live that way in the 1950s and later (I'm sure they cared about each other and were fine housemates, but they lived together in California and the rest of us stayed on the east coast. We never went out there to visit them but Bob would usually travel back here every year or two).
Bob passed away in 1998 and left a very generous amount of money to my parents at a time when they didn't have much... he was a genuine, fun and caring man and he would've been shunned by other members of our family had he not lived this way, happily married to Helen.
#75My 72 year old mother died this January. While I’d noticed her being more political than she used to be, my sister went through her bank records and found out she’d been writing all sorts of checks to some Trump organization or another. She didn’t have much money and while she didn’t have many expenses there at the end, but still, there were many other things she could have spent that money on.
Conversely, a few years ago when my girlfriend mom died, the family went through her finances and found out she had also been writing checks every month. To charities! Like real ones, good causes. About 2-300 bucks every month.
To add some context, she was also poor and lived in inner city Cleveland, surrounded by a lot of poverty and crime. She probably could have used that money to move out to the burbs but that was her home. And in the decade plus that I knew her, she’d never struck me as the charitable type. I was shocked. And impressed.
#76Nothing scandalous... after my mom died I found an enormous stash of candy in her sock drawer. Like, tons of it covered by a layer of socks. She loved her sweets and apparently didn't want to share.
#77My uncle had multiple masters degrees, bachelors degrees, and a law degree. But he lived with my grandma for a really long only working part time as a helper for older people so we always thought he was a loner who barely accomplished anything. I guess he was a law consultant for awhile but was devestated when his boyfriend died so kind of fell off the radiar and moved home with his mom until he randomly died a few years ago.
Also my grandpa actually was his second wife's teacher. They didn't get together until he was 50 and she was 30 though.
#78I lost my first boyfriend to cancer when I was 16 - he’d been my close friend since I was 9.
Found out a year later from his sister that he’d had another girlfriend and had been two timing the both of us.
That was a really tough one to unpack. Tried to reach out to her but she blocked me.
Definitely changes how I remember him.
On a lighter note, when my grandfather passed away, we went through his office and discovered a file cabinet containing a folder for each of my siblings and I (we 8 were his only grandkids) which held every single picture, letter, photograph we had ever sent to him.