If you ever had to help sort through the possessions of a friend or relative that has recently died, then you know that — along with it being emotional — it can really give you a new glimpse into their lives. But, it can also lead you to finding out things about them that you had no idea about.
And it was with that in mind that I recently came across two old Reddit posts (one from six years ago and one from seven years ago) that dealt with the things people found or discovered while cleaning out a loved one's home after they died.
The threads had all sorts of responses, from unexpected items found among their possessions to things that were completely shocking. Below are the top and best comments:
1."We found out that my grandma had another child — bringing the total to eight — that she gave up for adoption and never told anyone about. Not even my grandpa [she had it before they met]. We tracked him down, and he was the coolest, most normal one out of the bunch!"
2."It was never a surprise that my grandma loved to take pictures, but it was a surprise when we found 10 pictures of my grandpa (who had died only a couple months earlier), in his 40s, only wearing his birthday suit and posing around the house we were clearing out."
3."When my grandpa died, we found a bunch of stuff that no one knew existed. And one of the things we found was the deed to a house we didn't know anything about. When my parents went to this house, they found a woman we'd never met, who was living there, thanks to 'grandpa's kindness.'"
4."When cleaning out my mom's house last October to move her into memory care assisted living, I found a note in a book from my grandma to me. It was written in 1982. It mentioned that my mom was married before marrying my dad. News to me! It hurt that in 35 years my mom never told me. Especially when I had gone through a divorce in my early 20s. Later, I found my mom and dad's marriage license. Her divorce was about six months prior to marrying my dad. So many questions! They divorced when I was 4."
5."My grandmother passed after a blood clot incident. She had several conditions that no doubt led up to this. My father, uncle, and my sisters were left to clean out her things from her apartment. However, one day it was just my dad and me going through her bedside table. We found her diary. Toward the end, all of the entries were about how lonely she was, how she only got to see her grandchildren twice a year, and how her own children never saw her unless they needed something. She said she wanted to die. My dad threw it away so his brother would never have to see it. So, um, yeah. Go hug a grandparent."
6."My grandma died when I was 16, after getting cancer for the third time. My granddad moved into a smaller apartment, and my cousins and I helped to clean out their house. (A side-note: There are nine of us, aged at the time from 12–26.)"
7."My grandmother hoarded silver dollars over the years and hid them throughout her house. When we cleaned it up after she died, we found the coins everywhere — every spot where you could imagine hiding a coin had one or two. The whole hoard ended up being worth about $7,000."
8."My grandma's house had money EVERYWHERE. Every purse had at least $100 cash. Suitcases had a few hundred more. Every coffee can or other container in her kitchen had rolls of money. There were even bags of frozen veggies in the freezer that had been split open and money hidden inside."
9."My mother had a large collection of handwritten erotic campfire sing-alongs stowed away. I'll see if I can find a few."
10."My grandpa had four grenades he brought back from WWII in his garage. Still live. We had to call in the bomb squad."
11."My nan recently died; after finding her birth certificate, we discovered that she'd been spelling her name wrong her entire life."
12."Grandpa was high up in the CIA. I actually found top secret folders! My grandpa was in the CIA and helped oversee the beginning of the sky marshal program. I opened a box with a legitimate red top secret stamp across it. It had a bunch of what my 15-year-old self would call 'boring papers.'"
13."My husband died in 2009 of a heart attack. He was a widower when I married him. But I found a letter written by his first wife, before she died of cancer, telling him how upset she was with him, how he wasn't being supportive, and how if she wasn't so sick that she would consider a divorce."
14."My parents divorced when we were kids, and my dad remarried a couple years later. Thirty years later when my dad died, we (grown kids) went through his large office to determine what to keep or sell. In his desk my sister found a draft of a love letter he had written to the woman who would become his second wife while he was still with our mother, confirming our suspicions that he had cheated on her. Although it was generally assumed that this had happened, seeing the evidence was painful."
15."I befriended an older gentleman who had zero family or friends. He moved into our area, and I struck up conversation with him after church one particular Sunday. We kept in touch regularly for about three years. I would take him to doctor appointments, and I think he enjoyed having someone around to keep an eye on him. He was struck down with pneumonia pretty bad, and as I was the only person in his mobile phone, the hospital rang me to let me know he was pretty low. I was there when he died, and I'm glad he had someone around to be there with him."
16."I found out my grandmother was an unwed mother when I found her real marriage certificate. She lied about the year she got married, saying she and my grandfather got married a year earlier than they actually did. We have no pictures of my grandparents' wedding in a church, just one picture of my grandmother and grandfather in a family member's living room 'after' the ceremony and a picture of a small cake. My grandmother said the film got exposed and she had no pictures."
17."After my grandfather died, I found out that he worked for the Army in Fort Monmouth. Whenever anyone asked what he did for a living, he said he 'makes coffee.' Turns out his actual job was very classified, and nobody knew what it was. Not even my grandma."
18."My mother and I found out my maternal grandmother was a spy during World War II. We found her papers and gun in her dresser in a retirement home. Oh boy, was that a wild time."
19."My dad was a pretty reserved guy. While I knew in my heart he would lay down and die for me without a moment's hesitation, he never said, 'I love you' or 'I'm proud of you' or anything like that. It's just who he was. After he died of cancer, we went to his office to clear it out. I'd never really been in his actual office since; on the rare occasions I'd see him at work, he'd usually meet me at reception."
20.And lastly, "My dad's grandmother was a huge hoarder. When she died, he had to go clear out the house, which was no easy task. After several days of trying to clear out the house, my dad finally made it to her bedroom. He found all kinds of surprising stuff, but the one that ended up being the wildest one was a letter. He found it in her bedside table, and it caught his attention because of the wax seal and what was written on the envelope: 'To be opened by my daughter, only after my death.' My dad called his mom immediately, since she was his grandmother's only daughter. After getting her permission, he opened the envelope and found a letter and a birth certificate."
Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.