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.

#1

35 Secrets About People That Surfaced After Their Death And May Have Forever Changed The Way Their Loved Ones Remember Them I 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.

Iian8787 , pexels Report

Brandon Marlowe
Community Member
2 weeks ago (edited)

So sorry for your loss. Even though not biologic, she was your Mom just the same.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#2

35 Secrets About People That Surfaced After Their Death And May Have Forever Changed The Way Their Loved Ones Remember Them My 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.

sicurri , Joel Muniz Report

Bumblebeealert
Community Member
2 weeks ago

She is my hero.

View more comments
#3

35 Secrets About People That Surfaced After Their Death And May Have Forever Changed The Way Their Loved Ones Remember Them My 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.

GreenOnionCrusader , Stephen Radford Report

Dan Padgett
Community Member
2 weeks ago

It takes an astonishing amount of bravery to go against the tide. Your grandad was made of steel. An amazing example to his family, friends and flock.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#4

35 Secrets About People That Surfaced After Their Death And May Have Forever Changed The Way Their Loved Ones Remember Them My 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.

username987654321a , Brandonrush Report

Brandon Marlowe
Community Member
2 weeks ago

Your Grandfather was a good man. Microloans can change someone's life.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#5

35 Secrets About People That Surfaced After Their Death And May Have Forever Changed The Way Their Loved Ones Remember Them This 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

kristyn69 , pexels Report

WordWeaver
Community Member
2 weeks ago

So glad you found a way to come a little closer to him.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#6

35 Secrets About People That Surfaced After Their Death And May Have Forever Changed The Way Their Loved Ones Remember Them My 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.

YUHMTX Report

MargyB
Community Member
2 weeks ago

Wow! Movie material

View More Replies...
View more comments
#7

35 Secrets About People That Surfaced After Their Death And May Have Forever Changed The Way Their Loved Ones Remember Them That he was a millionaire and he set aside the money to pay for my kids to go to private school. Thanks, Uncle.

thelibrariangirl , Victoria Heath Report

Archer Harris
Community Member
2 weeks ago

That’s so cool and generous!

View more comments
#8

35 Secrets About People That Surfaced After Their Death And May Have Forever Changed The Way Their Loved Ones Remember Them My 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.

disapearingelephants , Aditya Romansa Report

Bella V
Community Member
2 weeks ago

This has got to be one of the saddest things I have ever read.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#9

35 Secrets About People That Surfaced After Their Death And May Have Forever Changed The Way Their Loved Ones Remember Them That 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.

eczblack , Taylor Kiser Report

Some Cool Guy
Community Member
2 weeks ago

Gaslighting granny

View more comments
#10

35 Secrets About People That Surfaced After Their Death And May Have Forever Changed The Way Their Loved Ones Remember Them For 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.

sweetmeggypoo , Engin Akyurt Report

Dan Padgett
Community Member
2 weeks ago

She's your mum, she didn't need thanks. She was happy that you were happy.

View more comments
#11

35 Secrets About People That Surfaced After Their Death And May Have Forever Changed The Way Their Loved Ones Remember Them My 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.

SpaceGoonie , cottonbro Report

WordWeaver
Community Member
2 weeks ago

Wow! That must have been a really special find for her! Beautiful.

View more comments
#12

35 Secrets About People That Surfaced After Their Death And May Have Forever Changed The Way Their Loved Ones Remember Them My 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.

iamterrifiedofyou , Soundtrap Report

WordWeaver
Community Member
2 weeks ago

Generosity is one of the faces of love. She was an old soul. I bet you already saw that in how she was for you.

View more comments
#13

35 Secrets About People That Surfaced After Their Death And May Have Forever Changed The Way Their Loved Ones Remember Them My 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.

Justforfun_x , kili wei Report

WordWeaver
Community Member
2 weeks ago

One of humanity's rock bottom moments. Glad he survived and thrived in Oz.

View more comments
#14

We 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.

SCUpstateReader Report

KombatBunni
Community Member
2 weeks ago

I think Uncle J got the target he was after..good man

View more comments
#15

I 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.

Cuglas Report

jamie1707
Community Member
2 weeks ago

I rant and rave about those horrible people all the time. But there are many good ones in that club that many times sort of work underground to do good.

View more comments
#16

35 Secrets About People That Surfaced After Their Death And May Have Forever Changed The Way Their Loved Ones Remember Them One 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.

trebuchetfight Report

S Mi
Community Member
2 weeks ago

Love this one so much

View more comments
#17

35 Secrets About People That Surfaced After Their Death And May Have Forever Changed The Way Their Loved Ones Remember Them Oh 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

DaniTheLovebug , Caleb Oquendo Report

WordWeaver
Community Member
2 weeks ago

My Dad was like that - he was in 1940's black ops. He still felt he couldn't talk about it (had signed the Official Secrets Act and took it seriously) but started to tell us bits as he got near the end of his life. I think he would have suffered a lot less PTSD if he had been able to talk about it with someone but he didn't even tell Mum. Just mostly me. So I can appreciate how this man had all this seething inside him but feeling he couldn't speak about it. Hence the "joking".

View more comments
#18

My 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.

tiffanygray1990 Report

Toolkit
Community Member
2 weeks ago

So heartbreaking 💔

View More Replies...
View more comments
#19

A 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!

a-s-h-m-a-i-n Report

WordWeaver
Community Member
2 weeks ago

Good for him!

View more comments
See Also on Bored Panda
#20

35 Secrets About People That Surfaced After Their Death And May Have Forever Changed The Way Their Loved Ones Remember Them Grandma 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.

otherm0ther , Maria Vlasova Report

Brandon Marlowe
Community Member
2 weeks ago

Not really "hilarious" that she lived her whole life during a time when she felt that she couldn't be her true self.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#21

35 Secrets About People That Surfaced After Their Death And May Have Forever Changed The Way Their Loved Ones Remember Them My 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.

xilog , NASA Report

Dan Padgett
Community Member
2 weeks ago

Going against his own beliefs to encourage his son. That's a real parent.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#22

My 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.

BoopsForTheSoul Report

Angela B
Community Member
2 weeks ago

You are not an oddball. You are you. And that is a good thing. 🌻

View more comments
#23

My 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.

Larkafell317 Report

kim morris
Community Member
2 weeks ago

She knows.

View more comments
#24

35 Secrets About People That Surfaced After Their Death And May Have Forever Changed The Way Their Loved Ones Remember Them My 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.

anonymousemployee20 , cottonbro Report

WordWeaver
Community Member
2 weeks ago

At least you can choose your friends - unlike family.

View more comments
#25

A 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.

zoe_daemon Report

Cashme Outside
Community Member
2 weeks ago

PTSD in any form, combat or otherwise, is absolutely horrible. I know from personal experience how rough things can get and how far your mind can push you. I know Im not remotely the same as Inused to be and its hard to come to terms with sometimes. Fortunately we have come a long way with being open about it and talking it through, but sadly your father was of the generation that looked down on that sort of thing. Im sorry for your loss, and Im sorry he went through that alone.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#26

After 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.

Peter_deT Report

WordWeaver
Community Member
2 weeks ago

Sly dog! I bet he loved it all, including the subterfuge.

View more comments
#27

35 Secrets About People That Surfaced After Their Death And May Have Forever Changed The Way Their Loved Ones Remember Them My 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!

Roper997 Report

Brandon Marlowe
Community Member
2 weeks ago

Grandma still looks a little miffed.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#28

My 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

coole106 Report

S Mi
Community Member
2 weeks ago

Yaaaassss! Love that for her, hope she enjoyed them!

View More Replies...
View more comments
#29

35 Secrets About People That Surfaced After Their Death And May Have Forever Changed The Way Their Loved Ones Remember Them My 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.

panDora_Da_explorer , Osman Rana Report

begging for ham
Community Member
2 weeks ago

that info must be a lot to process while grieving

View more comments
See Also on Bored Panda
#30

Four 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.

LozNewman Report

WordWeaver
Community Member
2 weeks ago

Well, if no one was hurt by it and everyone's happy, what's the harm?

View More Replies...
View more comments
#31

35 Secrets About People That Surfaced After Their Death And May Have Forever Changed The Way Their Loved Ones Remember Them Uncle Ingram was apparently a sperm donor back in the 1950s. New cousins pop up on 23andme every couple of years.

Vampilton , National Cancer Institute Report

Kate
Community Member
2 weeks ago

Yeah... I knew mom's dad left when she was an infant and then remarried, but somehow I was not prepared to have a message on Ancestry from a half-cousin in Texas.

View more comments
#32

Nothing 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.

LivingInPugtopia Report

WordWeaver
Community Member
2 weeks ago

Tremendous sweet tooth!

View more comments
#33

35 Secrets About People That Surfaced After Their Death And May Have Forever Changed The Way Their Loved Ones Remember Them Grandma was a Russian spy in the Cold War. Wild.

almost_queen , Sergiu Nista Report

Brandon Marlowe
Community Member
2 weeks ago

Sexy Grandma. ; )

View More Replies...
View more comments
#34

35 Secrets About People That Surfaced After Their Death And May Have Forever Changed The Way Their Loved Ones Remember Them After 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.

bangersnmash13 , RODNAE Productions Report

S Mi
Community Member
2 weeks ago

Fascinating that he kept his family out of that lifestyle

View More Replies...
View more comments
#35

My 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.

ChesterMarley Report

WordWeaver
Community Member
2 weeks ago

You're probably right. Though it is possible she actually DOES know but why stir it up? And that might not have been the only half sibling out there. Dad suspected his Dad had had more. He did meet his half sister but she cut off ties because of pressure from his half brothers. There was a legacy involved, and people can get hinky about such things.

View more comments

Note: this post originally had 78 images. It’s been shortened to the top 35 images based on user votes.