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Several graves in a cemetery | Source: Shutterstock
Several graves in a cemetery | Source: Shutterstock

A Year after Son's Death, Woman Sees Grave of Her Daughter-In-Law at the Cemetery – Story of the Day

Caitlin Farley
Feb 21, 2024
11:46 A.M.

Brenda is baffled when her late son's wife denies knowing her and stunned when she visits her son's grave and sees her daughter-in-law's headstone nearby. She seeks answers from her son's best friend, but his suspicious behavior drives Brenda to unravel the mystery alone.

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Christopher was only 27 when he died in a tragic accident, leaving his mother, Brenda, to face an endless abyss of grief. Her world was shrouded in darkness following his death, and her health suffered.

Now, after a year in a clinic, Brenda had traveled hundreds of miles to visit her son’s grave. Bearing the weight of grief that no words can express, she got off at the metro station in the city where Chris had lived, died, and was laid to rest.

As Brenda headed to the station exit, she saw a familiar face in the crowd: her widowed daughter-in-law, Harper. Brenda had planned to meet Harper after visiting the cemetery and now hurried after the young woman to surprise her.

"Harper! Harper? Wait a second!" She patted the woman's shoulder from behind.

"I'm not Harper. You've got me wrong, lady!" The young woman arrogantly brushed away Brenda's hand and rushed away.

That's strange! Brenda thought. My eyes couldn't be deceiving me. She has the same eyes…same hair color…and voice. She is Harper!

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

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But the lady had vanished into the crowd. Brenda hailed a cab outside the station and headed to the cemetery. She was haunted by the encounter throughout her ride and couldn’t understand why Harper had acted so strangely.

"Ma'am…we’ve arrived," the cabbie said as he pulled over at the cemetery gate, jolting Brenda out of her thoughts.

The silence was haunting as Brenda searched the row of graves for Christopher's resting place. A wave of emotions washed over her when she found it. She broke into tears as she brushed her trembling hands on Christopher's tombstone.

Disbelief surged through Brenda when her gaze shifted to the neighboring grave.

The epitaph etched on the headstone horrified her.

In Loving Memory of Harper. S.

January 8, 1995 - December 3, 2020

Forever cherished, Forever missed.

Rest in peace.

"Oh my God…Harper passed away last week and nobody told me?" Brenda gasped, unable to believe her eyes.

A haunting question immediately loomed in her mind: "If Harper is dead, then who was the girl at the subway?"

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For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

Brenda snapped out of her thoughts when she heard someone raking dry leaves. The cemetery's groundskeeper was working nearby. Brenda approached him and asked if he could tell her about Harper's funeral.

The guy lit a cigarette and sighed, exhaling a puff of smoke into the air. "It took place last week. It was strange… There weren’t any mourners, just the funeral service employees. They brought the coffin, buried it, erected a simple headstone, and left. It wasn't even a proper funeral."

"Did anybody visit her grave after that?" Brenda frowned.

"Not that I know of, Ma’am," he replied. "I work here all day and live on the grounds. I keep watch over the cemetery all the time and haven’t seen anybody visit that woman's grave."

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"Alright…thanks," Brenda said and turned around. Nothing made sense to her.

Curious to unravel the mystery surrounding her daughter-in-law and her demise, Brenda decided to meet Jake, her late son's best friend and business partner.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

Jake was caught off guard at seeing his best friend's mother unexpectedly standing on his doorstep, smiling at him. He invited Brenda in, but she could sense his uneasiness.

When Brenda entered, she saw luggage in the living room, and she immediately asked Jake about his travel plans.

"I'm leaving this state, Mrs. Sutton. Been a rough year since Chris passed," Jake said, a strange disappointment and worry etched on his face. "The company is bankrupt so I decided to move somewhere far away from all the mess I've been dealing with."

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"How can the company be bankrupt, Jake?" Brenda raised an eyebrow.

"What's going on? I saw Harper's tomb beside my son's grave. Nobody even told me she passed away! Tell me…what happened to my daughter-in-law? How did she die?"

"Mrs. Sutton, I... I didn't want to disturb you. After Chris's passing, you were so disturbed and heartbroken. When I learned you’d be spending a year in the hospital, I was afraid your condition might worsen if you found out about the company's financial crisis and what Harper did," Jake said, haunting Brenda further.

"What did Harper do, Jake?” Brenda asked. “I want to know everything."

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

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Jake took a deep breath. "Well, Harper inherited the company after Chris's death, but she declined to manage it because she didn't know anything about the business. So, by mutual agreement, I stepped in to manage the company because I was already Chris's business partner."

"Honestly, the business hit rock bottom after your son's death. We were on the verge of declaring bankruptcy when Harper suggested finding investors and taking out loans to revive the company," Jake explained.

"But...you said Harper declined any say in the business," Brenda said, her suspicions raised.

"Yes, but we were all desperate to save the company. We agreed to Harper's idea. But just a week ago, Harper withdrew the five million dollar loan money and fled. The police started looking for her."

"Oh, my God! Harper stole the loan money?" Brenda gasped in disbelief. It was too hard to accept that her late son's wife had destroyed his hard work after his death.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

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"We never expected her to backstab us like this, but she paid the price for her betrayal," Jake added. "The cops discovered a burned car that had crashed into a cliff near the woods. It was Harper's car. She met with a tragic accident and died immediately."

"What? Oh my God…" Brenda exclaimed.

"The police recovered a woman’s completely burned body with Harper's gold letter ‘H’ pendant. There were charred remains of hundred dollar bills. Everything else was incinerated...the case was closed as accidental death."

"Jesus...Harper ruined everything,” Brenda said. “But wait...what about Christopher's hard work? It doesn't make sense that the company went bankrupt after he died."

"I understand your frustration, Mrs. Sutton," Jake said. "But circumstances spiraled out of control. Harper paid a heavy price for her actions, but her funeral was dignified. Many guests attended and everyone grieved her tragic death...despite the wicked thing she did to all of us."

"Harper's funeral??" Brenda grew suspicious. The cemetery groundskeeper had told her nobody attended Harper's funeral. Something seemed incredibly fishy to Brenda. Jake's anxiety and restlessness, coupled with his sudden decision to leave the city, fueled her doubts further.

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For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

"Uh, when is your flight, Jake?" Brenda asked.

"Early tomorrow morning…6 a.m.," he said.

"Do you mind if I stay here for the night?" Brenda asked, a plan brewing in her mind. "I'm wary about renting a hotel room all alone for tonight in a strange city."

Jake thought for a while but eventually agreed and showed Brenda to the guest room. Brenda put out the lights but never slept. Instead, she anxiously waited for Jake’s bedroom lights to go off so she could search for a clue to help her connect the dots.

Once Jake was asleep, Brenda headed to the living room and rummaged through Jake's luggage. Her hands trembled with a mix of anxiety and fear. What if Jake was pretending to be asleep? What if he caught her prying? The consequences haunted Brenda. But she was determined to unravel the truth.

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Brenda's search turned into her worst nightmare when she uncovered two fake passports hidden within a secret compartment. One featured a photograph of her supposedly 'dead' daughter-in-law, Harper, but under a different name.

"Sarah? Oh, who are you trying to fool, Harper?" Brenda muttered.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

"John?" Brenda's face twisted with suspicion when she saw Jake's photograph under a different name in the other passport. "What's going on here? Are they involved in something deeper...something I can't even imagine?"

She then found two plane tickets to London booked under the fake names. A weird sensation crawled up Brenda's gut.

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Jake and his accomplice, Sarah, who was actually Harper, were up to something foul. Something had to be done.

She quickly put the luggage back as it was and hurried to the pharmacy at the end of the lane. Minutes later, she returned to Jake's house with sleeping tablets.

Brenda was already in the kitchen making breakfast when Jake hurried downstairs at 5 a.m.

"Good morning, Jake! Have breakfast before you leave for the trip!" Brenda smiled warmly. “Here’s your orange juice.”

"Thanks, Mrs. Sutton, that’s really kind of you.” Jake sipped from the glass Brenda gave him. "It tastes...uhm…nice…."

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

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Around twenty minutes later, Jake dozed off on the couch, just like Brenda had wanted. Harper couldn’t fly without a passport and plane ticket, so now, Brenda had to wait for her to call or text Jake.

"What's taking her so long? It's 5:30," Brenda mumbled under her breath.

Suddenly, Jake's phone rang, shattering the stillness in the room. The caller name, "Sarah," flashed on the screen. But Brenda never answered the call. Eventually, a message notification appeared.

"How could you oversleep, idiot? Have you forgotten we're flying to London today? I'm getting a taxi and coming to your house right now."

"Come...I'm waiting for you...HARPER!"

Brenda grinned wickedly as she hid behind the front door. Around 30 minutes later, Brenda peered through the peephole and saw a taxi pull up outside. She quickly called the cops.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

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The door creaked open, and Harper stepped inside. Brenda could not believe her eyes when she saw her face. Her daughter-in-law was very much alive!

"Jake! Are you kidding me? Get up," Harper barked at an unconscious Jake lying on the couch. That's when a familiar voice spoke from behind, startling her.

"ARE YOU LOOKING FOR SOMEONE, HARPER?" Brenda said, striking a hard blow to Harper's head with a vase.

A startled Harper collapsed on the floor and blacked out. Moments later, Brenda heard police sirens and hurried outside. She explained the situation to the cops and showed them the fake passports and flight tickets. Jake and Harper were hospitalized and later transferred to the police station for interrogation.

Jake refused to confess to his crimes, but Harper came clean when she learned her sentence could get cut off if she confessed the truth.

"We bribed a morgue worker and stole a homeless woman’s body. We put the body, wearing my gold chain, in the driver's seat of my car and set it alight…Then we rammed the car from behind, causing it to fall off the cliff to make it appear like an accident."

"And what about the money you stole?" The detective stared Harper in the eye.

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"The five million has been transferred to our new bank accounts...we thought everything was covered...the new passports, the bank accounts, the flight...Jake and I thought we’d get away with it. But…" Harper paused and broke down, burying her head in her cuffed hands.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

Tell us what you think about this story, and share it with your friends. It might inspire them and brighten their day.

If you enjoyed this story, you might like this one, about a woman who sees her husband on vacation two years after she arranged his death in a car accident.

This piece is inspired by stories from the everyday lives of our readers and written by a professional writer. Any resemblance to actual names or locations is purely coincidental. All images are for illustration purposes only. Share your story with us; maybe it will change someone's life. If you would like to share your story, please send it to info@amomama.com.

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