15 People Share Dark Stories A Loved One Kept Until Their Death

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People these days joke with their friends about promising to come and delete their hard drive after they die to avoid embarrassing revelations after they’re gone – but what if there’s no way to avoid all of your deepest, darkest secrets emerging once you’re no longer around to protect them?

These 15 people know a little bit about that, because they discovered some doozies after saying goodbye to family and friends.

#15. He never took his hat off in public.

“Our farm caretaker always wore a ballcap… always, for a 40 yr+ history He died from a tumor on his scalp that had eaten into his skull. He never took his hat off in public, none of us had any idea.”

#14. Secretly a Klan member.

“My girlfriend’s great grandfather was a sweet old man that died when she was a very little girl. After he died, the family was going through his things, and found his diary. Turns out that he was secretly a Klan member.”

#13. A really difficult time.

“My mom passed suddenly this February and my aunt couldn’t wait to tell me about the abortion my mom had when she was 14. She spared no detail. I could have gone the rest of my life without knowing that. It put some distance between me and my grandparents during a really difficult time when we should have been supporting each other.”

#12. At family dinner.

“My grandpa gave my grandma crabs when he cheated on her with his future wife. For some reason my grandma brought it up at a family dinner. Out of no where.”

#11. No one knew.

“She had full blown AIDS. She was always very thin because of another medical condition, but no one knew she was HIV positive, let alone dying of AIDS.”

#10. A donor-father.

“My boss at my first job was a donor-father to a lesbian couple that he was friends with.

He was older when he got married. Reading through the lines of conversations over the 8 years I knew him, I learned that he and his wife tried to have kids together but it never worked out for them.

A few months after retirement, he was diagnosed with cancer, and passed away less than a year later.

When his obituary was published, it mentioned a daughter, and again it was mentioned at the funeral. He had only mentioned this to a few people, despite maintaining a relationship with the daughter for 10 years, travelling to see her on a regular basis.”

#9. Gangsters and guns.

“For much of my childhood, my mom helped out an older lady named Mary with groceries, doctor’s appointments, etc. It began as a charity effort through her church aerobics group (90s), but the rest of the group lost interest, and my mom kept it up for many more years. Mary’s family was a mess, poor all around with various members either strung out or in various states of dysfunction. Her great-granddaughter actually lived with us for a while, and my mom did something with, or for, Mary probably 3-4 times a week.

When Mary eventually died a few years ago, my mother went to her funeral and met Mary’s sister for the first time, and got to talking. My mom knew that Mary had been married and widowed twice. What she didn’t know is that Mary’s first husband was a gangster, and that he died when Mary took his gun and shot him in the head. She managed to get herself committed on mental grounds rather than incarcerated, and met her second husband at the mental facility.

EDIT- A few add-ons. Although it was not explicit in the story as I heard it, there was an implication that the first marriage was abusive, not a stretch to imagine for a Baltimore mobster in the 40s. According to the sister, one day husband #1 was getting picked up by his friends to go do mobster things, and left his holster and pistol inside. He told Mary to go get it, and she did, then shot him with it in broad daylight outside their house. Apparently she was always a talented actor/manipulator (which rings true), and put on a good show at the trial, hence the very light consequence.”

#8. Not so dark.

“Not so dark but as we were cleaning out my grandfather’s car after he passed we found a huge tub of cheese puffs (something he wasn’t allowed to have because of his strict diet) in the trunk.”

#7. Why did he lie for so long?

“I guess it’s not that dark, but apparently my grandfather’s middle name was secretly Ralph.

He was 80 years old when he died. He lived with us for years and years and years. All that time he told us very emphatically that he didn’t have a middle name, and as far as we all knew, he never used one for anything. I assume my grandmother must have known, since she did all their legal paperwork, but she died before anyone else found out and she took his secret to her grave too. Even my parents only learned that he had lied about it when they went to execute his will and saw a middle name printed on his death certificate, then found it on a bunch of his other papers.

It was just a really bizarre revelation. Nobody still alive has any idea why he lied to everyone for so long about it. Maybe not a dark secret per se, but he certainly acted as if it was.”

#6. He had his demons.

“My grandfather was apparently very abusive to my grandma and my dad when he was growing up.

He was also a heavy alc*holic at the time, and I think that played a large role in it. At some point, he stopped drinking all together and that that apparently helped things a lot and their family life stabilized.

It’s just weird because I only ever knew him as a sweet frail old man who wouldn’t even curse in front of me. But he had his demons and likely caused a lot of emotional damage to my father and grandmother.”

#5. 3 families.

“my grandfathers other family.

my grandfather was a sailor (cook) in the Canadian navy. while in port down in the Caribbean he and a friend went around the island exploring both the island and the local women.

well a few years before he died he showed me a picture of him, a kid and a women while he was in uniform, it was ONE of the kids that was his.

when he died I got his big trunk of military stuff and in a wallet in the bottom was another picture, with 2 more kids and him with a women.

my grandfather had 3 families my mother doesnt know about.”

#4. Did not get the tattoo.

“My dad committed suicide when I was 11. He had longstanding issues with all kinds of drugs, and I always had a soft spot for him because 1. he was my dad and 2. I felt like my family just hated him bc he did drugs, even though he wasn’t that bad of a guy. I was strongly considering getting a tattoo to memorialise him when I turned 18.

When I was 17 I found out that he used to beat and rape my mom on a regular basis. She said he would literally corner her when she came out of the shower and force her to have sex. He was also physically abusive toward my brother (we have different dads). Also, also, while my mom was pregnant with me (actually on her due date), he pushed her down our basement steps, which are the most jagged, stiff, wooden steps leading to our concrete basement.

Did not get that tattoo…”

#3. Actually.

“My grandfather always told me growing up that his sister died after being struck by lightning. He always had great, vivid, not always child-friendly but definitely colorful stories, and i thought nothing of it.”

Fast forward ten years, I’m talking to my dad about it after doing some digging through old photos. I told him what his father had told me about his aunt, and commented on how sad it was. After five minutes of laughing so hard he couldn’t catch a breath, he told me that she had actually blown herself up in a meth-cooking accident.”

#2. My poor dad.

“I have two.

My grandfather was a bastardized his entire life. Abusive and cruel. The family lived in poverty,very hand to mouth and scraped for every thing they had, which was not much.

On his deathbed he told my grandmother that he had been hoarding money his entire life. He saved a couple of million. Grandma took herself on a trip around the world and then gave the rest of the money to a zoo. Gave none to her children.

Grandfather and grandmother had fourth child, who was born with disabilities. Grandfather declared he would not have made a child with disabilities, therefore the child was a product of an affair. He allowed the child (whose life expectancy was a few years) to come home, but demanded his wife ignore the child. My dad and his siblings (who were still young children themselves) provided all the care, until the child died in toddlerhood.

My poor dad. Between his home and Vietnam he was so messed up. He couldn’t rise to the challenge of sticking around and parenting, but damn after all he experienced I give him credit for never laying a hand on us, trying his best and then leaving when he knew he just couldn’t.”

#1. Fascinating stuff.

“I volunteer at a research library as an amate*r genealogist, so I have so, so many. I find all the skeletons in the closet. My personal favorite is a woman who wanted to find out about her great aunt– she’d been told her aunt ran away from home at sixteen and was never seen by the family again.

Turns out the aunt actually was jailed for stealing a bunch of money from her brother. While in jail it came out that she was secretly married to a guy who was wanted as part of a ring of thieves stealing silver cutlery from fancy hotels. That was her third marriage and she was 20 and Catholic, so her family cut her off. She eventually moved across the state and remarried twice more before eventually getting hitched to a farmer. They were married 18 years when she died. Oh, and the great uncle my client had been told died of the flu? Was murdered on his front porch in a fight over a beer bottle.

Also: sooooo many people had two families. Tons of secret adoptions. Lots of moving around for less than savory reasons. Genealogy is fascinating stuff.

So I guess I mostly deal in things that weren’t secrets at the time but are now.”

Make the pact with your besties today, y’all. You’ll feel better.