A man grieving for his lost wife was caught off guard when he saw her come to pay her respects at her own funeral — he followed the trail she left, and it led him to a very startling truth.
Matthew Cooper tried. He tried his best to keep the tears from falling, but they came, unbidden, like rain on a sunny afternoon.
He had just lost his wife, Prudence, in a car crash earlier that week and had to bury her a couple of days later. It was a devastating blow to him and their son, Gunther, because they had loved her dearly.
A man lost his wife but saw her show up at her funeral. | Photo: Getty Images
Matthew knew he had to be strong for his kid, but as he stood before his wife's freshly dug grave, the tears rolled down his cheek, and very soon, he was sobbing along with his son without a care in the world.
People around tried to comfort him, but nothing they said worked, and eventually, the crowd dispersed, leaving him and Gunther to their grief. Matthew remained at the cemetery even after his 15-year-old son returned to their home.
The grieving man stayed until the sunset later that evening, but just as he was about to leave, he caught sight of a woman dressed to her feet in black making her way towards his late wife's grave.
Matthew, who had been walking in the other direction, slowed his steps deliberately because he was watching her.
The woman moved gracefully and was tall and slender like his late wife. In fact, she reminded him very much of her, but he just chalked it up to his grief playing pranks on him.
Matthew was grieving his wife's death at her grave when a mysterious woman showed up. | Photo: Getty Images
Still, he kept an eye on her. When she reached the grave, the woman, whose facial profile was mostly obscured by the large hat she wore, went on her knees in tears.
"If she loved her that much why didn't she just come for the funeral," Matthew thought to himself.
He decided then that she meant nothing, so he turned to leave, but at that very moment, the woman decided to take off her hat, baring her face.
Matthew's heart skipped several beats at the sight he saw; it was his wife in flesh and blood. The man had no idea how to act, so he just stood there, frozen like a gargoyle until the woman left a few minutes later.
It was not until she walked out of the cemetery that Matthew came to his senses and realized he needed to confirm, at least, if it was a hallucination.
At that, he raced to the car park but only in time to see the woman get into a white Mazda before zooming off. Something made him walk to where she had parked, and on the floor, he found a receipt from a store more than 80 miles from the cemetery.
Before Matthew could get a hold of himself, the woman who looked like his wife was walking away from the cemetery. | Photo: Getty Images
Matthew decided to follow the trail, so he got in his car and drove over to the small town where the store was located. It was an small, idyllic town in Wyoming, so it didn't take him long to find the store.
He walked into the store and showed a picture of Prudence to the cashier.
"Have you seen this woman?" he asked.
"That's Purity," the cashier answered. "She just moved here several days ago. Why do you ask? Is she in any trouble?"
"No, she's not. I'd just really like to have a word with her. Do you know where she currently stays?"
"Of course, this is a small town and everyone knows each other. Purity rented out an Airbnb. If you ask any cab driver, they'll get you there. The name's Hilly's."
"Thank you, ma'am, I appreciate your kindness," Matthew said, then left.
Matthew decided to follow the trail on the receipt he found. | Photo: Getty Images
He went to the location and knocked on the mystery woman's door. At first, no one answered, but Matthew saw the curtains in the window move as though someone had peeked through it.
He knocked again, and after a few moments, his wife came out of the house and fell onto his arms. "I'm so sorry," she sobbed.
Matthew could not believe it was truly his wife, but there she was, alive and well. He felt joy at first, but realizing she must have faked her death, the joy turned bitter.
"How could you do this to me… to us?" he asked her angrily as soon as he got her to stop hugging him.
"Oh honey, I went about all this wrongly," she said.
"What do you mean?" he asked, still fuming. "Come clean now."
To Matthew's surprise, his wife appeared at the door. | Photo: Pexels
"It all started some months ago when I ran into a woman who looked exactly like me. Even down to the crown-like birthmark I have on my abdomen."
"How is that possible?" Matthew asked.
"I think you should come in, it's quite a long story," she told him.
They spent hours talking that day, and Matthew was made to understand why she did what she did.
"We struck it off immediately and met up a couple of more times to talk about the possibility of us being twins. It was during those meetings that she revealed how hard her life had been since she was abandoned in an orphanage."
"Why was she abandoned?" Matthew asked.
Prudence began to narrate her story to Matthew. | Photo: Getty Images
"I think maybe because our mom could only raise one child at the time," she replied.
"That's sad," Matthew said.
"I thought so too which is why I tried to help by giving her things and sometimes money whenever we met."
"And where was I during this time?"
"I'm sorry I didn't tell you, Matt. I guess I just wanted to be sure first."
"That's a weak excuse but go on with your story."
"The threats started after I refused to give her more money than I usually did."
Matthew listened as Prudence explained why she faked her death. | Photo: Getty Images
"Yes, she wanted to live a luxurious life at my expense because she believed she would have ended up like me had she been given a better childhood. When I started to avoid her, the threats became more elaborate and soon, blackmail followed.
"Nothing I did was enough for her; not the small house I wanted to buy her and not the money I gave her without condition. One day we had an argument in the car and she threatened to kidnap our child.
"I got pissed and said terrible things which also got her mad and we ended up fighting which is how the accident happened.
"We crashed into a ditch and I blacked out. But when I woke up, I saw she wasn't as lucky. I was scared of going to jail so I fled the scene and anonymously called 911."
Matthew wondered why his wife didn't tell him about the threats and blackmail. | Photo: Getty Images
"But it was not your fault Pru, you should have told me. I could have helped," Matthew said sadly.
"I'm sorry Matt, I made some terrible decisions and caused you and Gunther pain."
The couple returned to their home together, and after having a long family meeting, Matthew joined Prudence for a trip to the police station to turn herself in.
At the trial, she was acquitted of any charges after they provided evidence that her sister had blackmailed her and threatened her family.
Despite everything that happened, Prudence visited her sister's grave regularly with flowers.
"I hope you're in a better place now, Purity," she always whispered as she left.
Prudence regularly took flowers to her sister's grave. | Photo: Getty Images
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