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Grave in a cemetery | Source: Shutterstock
Grave in a cemetery | Source: Shutterstock

Mom Sees Her Daughter-In-Law's Grave a Year after Son's Death – Story of the Day

Rita Kumar
Jul 05, 2023
04:50 A.M.

"I'm not Harper. You've got me wrong, lady!" Brenda runs into a woman resembling her late son's wife. She visits her son's grave at the cemetery, but things get more complicated when she stumbles upon her daughter-in-law's tomb nearby. Brenda meets her son's best friend, Jake, for answers. But when he acts suspiciously, Brenda devises a plan to unravel the mystery.

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"My precious boy...I'm finally coming to see you, sweetheart," 60-year-old Brenda tearfully whispered, holding her late son Christopher's framed photo close to her heart.

Robbed of her only child's presence, Brenda's every waking moment was haunted by memories of her beloved son, who had died in a tragic accident a year ago.

Bearing the weight of grief that no words can express, Brenda prepared to get off at the metro station in the new city. The bereaved mother had traveled hundreds of miles all alone to visit her son's grave that day…

For illustration purposes only | Source: Getty Images

For illustration purposes only | Source: Getty Images

Christopher was only 27 when fate snatched him away, leaving Brenda to face an endless abyss of grief. When he was gone, Brenda's world was shrouded in darkness, and her health started to give in.

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She was rushed to the hospital for rigorous treatment and therapy. And after spending 12 agonizing months in the clinic, Brenda arrived at the city where Christopher had lived, died, and was laid to rest.

Snapping away her tears, Brenda got off the subway car and stepped onto the platform. A small flower kiosk nestled within the bustling railway station drew her attention.

Deciding to get flowers for Christopher's grave, Brenda approached the stall and selected a bouquet of white roses.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

"Thanks, dear! Please keep the change!" Brenda smiled as she took a bouquet of flowers.

As Brenda made her way to the exit, a familiar face emerged from the crowd, prompting her to stop in her tracks. It was a young woman who looked a lot like her widowed daughter-in-law, Harper, who Brenda had planned to meet after visiting the cemetery.

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Brenda looked closely and was convinced it was indeed her daughter-in-law, who was heading somewhere from the metro station. So she hurried after the young woman to surprise her.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

"Harper! Harper, dear…hold on…it's me, Brenda!" Brenda walked as fast as she could, waving her hand. "Harper? Wait a second!" She patted the woman's shoulder from behind and panted.

The young lady stopped and turned around with a start. "Harper? I'm not Harper. You've got me wrong, lady!" She arrogantly dismissed and yanked Brenda's hand.

"You're not Harper? But how's that possible? You look just like my son's wife," Brenda was quite disheartened.

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"Cut it, lady. I'm not Harper. I've got to go…" the woman rudely dismissed Brenda. Before Brenda could fathom what was going on, the lady turned around and hurried out of her sight.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

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

"Hey, there! Hold on...Harper! We need to talk…"

But by then, the lady had already slipped away in the crowd, and Brenda could not catch up with her. With a deep sigh, Brenda approached a taxi stand outside the station and hailed a cab to the cemetery.

"Does she really hate me that much?" Brenda wondered as she settled in the backseat. "Why is Harper avoiding me…and pretending not to know me at all? What did I do to her?" She was haunted by the encounter at the subway throughout her ride.

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For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

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

She stepped out of the cab, her gaze fixed on the gate, and turned to the driver. "Please wait for me here...I won't be long." With a deep, painful sigh, Brenda entered the graveyard with the flowers in her grip.

The silence was haunting as Brenda gingerly marched across the row of graves, looking for Christopher's resting place. A wave of emotions washed over her as she approached his grave and knelt with the flowers.

"My baby…Oh, Christopher. Mama's here…I've come to see you…" Brenda broke into tears as she brushed her trembling hands on Christopher's tombstone. Suddenly, a surge of disbelief gripped Brenda's eyes when her gaze shifted to another grave right beside Christopher's tomb.

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For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

The epitaph etched on the headstone horrified Brenda, and she could not believe her eyes when she read the words:

"In Loving Memory of

Harper C.

January 8, 1995 - December 3, 2020

Forever cherished, Forever missed.

Rest in peace."

"Oh my God…Harper...my Chris' wife...passed away a week ago? How come 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?"

For illustration purposes only | Source: Getty Images

For illustration purposes only | Source: Getty Images

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Brenda snapped out of her thoughts when she heard someone raking dry leaves not far from her son's grave. It was the cemetery's groundskeeper. As soon as Brenda saw the guy, she approached him, hoping he would know something about Harper's funeral.

"Hey, there…excuse me," Brenda hastily marched toward the man, who paused and looked up at her. "Do you know anything about the funeral of the woman buried there?" She pointed toward Harper's grave.

The man raised an eyebrow. "You mean the new grave there…beside the one with the huge cross?"

"Yeah, that's the one I'm talking about…do you know how she died? Can you please tell me about the funeral…or if you know anything about this at all?"

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pixabay

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pixabay

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With a casual flick of his lighter, the guy lit a cigarette and sighed, exhaling a puff of smoke into the air. "Oh, yeah! I know that one…the funeral took place last week. It was quite strange."

"Strange?" Brenda wrinkled her forehead doubtfully.

"Yeah…There were not many people at all. Just the funeral service employees. They simply brought the coffin. Buried it. And immediately left after cementing a simple headstone. It wasn't even a proper funeral."

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

"That's weird…" Brenda muttered. "Did anybody visit her grave after that? I mean…her friends. Or someone who knew her?"

"No, Ma'am…not that I know of," the man replied. "I work here all day. My house is nearby…see that shack? That's where I live. I keep watch over the cemetery all the time. As far as I know, nobody has visited that woman's grave."

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

Curious to unravel what had happened to her daughter-in-law and caused her mysterious demise, Brenda decided to meet Jake, her late son's best friend and business partner, who lived in the same city. After spending some time at her son's grave, Brenda immediately left for Jake's house in the taxi.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

"Coming…just a sec!" A faint voice echoed from the other side of the door after Brenda rang the doorbell. She anxiously stood at Jake's doorstep and sighed, recognizing his voice.

Moments later, the door swung open, and Jake froze to the ground. He was caught off guard at seeing his best friend's mother unexpectedly standing on his doorstep and smiling at him.

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"Mrs. Sutton??" Jake gasped.

Brenda nodded with a warm smile. "Hello, dear! How are you? I just arrived in the city this morning...visited Christopher's grave. And thought I'd pay you a surprise visit!"

"I'm good…uh…please come in," Jake stepped aside, swinging the door fully and gesturing for Brenda to get inside. For some reason, Jake was nervous and overly surprised at her unsuspecting visit, and Brenda could sense his uneasiness.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

When she entered, she saw luggage in the living room. There was a half-packed suitcase, and she immediately turned to Jake.

"Mrs. Sutton! I'm so glad you came," he said. "I was just packing."

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"Packing? You're going somewhere?" Brenda asked.

"Uh, yeah…I'm moving out of this state, Mrs. Sutton. Been a rough year ever since Chris passed," Jake said, a strange disappointment and worry etched on his face.

"The company is bankrupt…I have nothing more to do here. So I decided to sell this house and move somewhere far away from all the mess I've been dealing with."

"What do you mean by the company is bankrupt, Jake?" Brenda raised an eyebrow. "What's going on? And I saw Harper's tomb beside my son's grave. I had no idea Harper had passed away. Nobody told me anything. At least you could've called me, right? And that's what brought me here. Tell me…what happened to my daughter-in-law? How did she die?"

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

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"Well, you know…." Jake spoke, his tone laced with disappointment. "I'm sorry, Mrs. Sutton. I can't handle this business anymore. The company's downfall and your daughter-in-law Harper's death are connected."

"I don't get it…what do you mean?" Brenda asked, fearing the answer.

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

"What is it, Jake? Please, tell me. What did she do? I want to know everything."

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

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

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"To be honest, the company's business hit rock bottom after your son's death. We were already on the verge of declaring bankruptcy. That's when Harper stepped in. She suggested finding investors and taking out loans to revive the company," Jake explained.

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

"I know, Mrs. Sutton. But we were all desperate for a solution. We wanted to save the company. So we agreed to Harper's idea. But just a week ago, everything fell apart. Harper withdrew five million dollars and fled the town. It was the loan money. It was really stupid of her...because the police started looking for her around the city."

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

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Brenda gasped in disbelief. "Oh, my God! I can't believe this. Harper stole the loan money?"

She was so furious with her daughter-in-law. It was too hard to accept that her late son's wife had destroyed his hard work after his death.

"I know, Mrs. Sutton. We never expected her to betray us like this. But she paid the price for her betrayal," Jake added.

"What do you mean?" Brenda grew anxious.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

Pouring hot coffee into Brenda's cup, Jake then revealed the tragedy that shook that part of the city a week ago. "The cops discovered a burnt car that had crashed into a cliff near the woods. It was Harper's car. It was then revealed that on the way, Harper had met with a tragic accident and died on the spot."

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"What? Oh my God…" Brenda gasped in shock.

"The car had burned due to the impact of the collision. The police were only able to recover a completely burned body of a woman with Harper's gold pendant with the engraving 'H' on it. There were charred remains of hundred dollar bills. The rest of the money had burned down completely...and the case was closed as accidental death."

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pixabay

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pixabay

"Jesus...Harper ruined everything. But wait...what about Christopher's hard work? It doesn't make sense why the company would go bankrupt after he died. I know how my son worked really hard for this company. There had to be some way to save his business."

"I understand your frustration, Mrs. Sutton," Jake said. "Chris's contributions were invaluable. But you see...circumstances spiraled out of control. And whatever Harper did, she paid a heavy price for it. But her funeral was held with dignity. Many guests attended. Even some of her friends. Everyone grieved her tragic death...despite the wicked thing she did to all of us."

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"Harper's funeral??" Brenda grew suspicious. She recalled the cemetery groundskeeper telling her nobody had 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.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

"Uh, when is your flight, Jake?" Brenda broke Jake's silence.

"An early morning flight tomorrow…6 a.m.," he said.

Brenda nodded, and a plan brewed in her mind. "Well, do you mind if I crash here for the night?" She asked. "I don't know much about this place…I'm a little skeptical about renting a hotel all alone for tonight."

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Jake thought for a while as Brenda stared into his eyes. "Ah, well…sure, Mrs. Sutton! That's the guest room…feel at home," he replied.

"Alright, then! I'm exhausted, dear. I just want to call it a night. Goodnight, Jake! See you in the morning," Brenda said as she headed to the room.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

She put out the lights in the guest room but never slept. Instead, she anxiously waited for the lights in Jake's room to go off so she could set off to find a clue — anything — that could help her connect the dots.

Later that night, she crept into Jake's room and found him sound asleep. With a heavy sigh, Brenda headed to the living room, where Jake's luggage was kept.

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She meticulously rummaged through Jake's belongings. 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 stop at nothing to unravel the truth.

At the stroke of midnight, Brenda's search for the truth turned into her worst nightmare when her hands delved into the depths of the luggage. She uncovered two fake passports hidden within a secret compartment.

"Sarah? Oh, really? Who are you trying to fool, Harper?" Brenda was stunned when one passport featured a photograph of her supposedly 'dead' daughter-in-law Harper but under a completely different name. The shock escalated when Brenda took the other passport.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

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"John?" Brenda's face twisted with suspicion when it revealed Jake's photograph under a different name.

Brenda grew worried sick. "Fake passports? 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. She realized 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 close by.

"Excuse me...could I please get some sleeping pills?" Brenda asked the pharmacist, and minutes later, she returned to Jake's house with the tablets.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

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When Jake hurried downstairs at 5 a.m. to get ready to leave for the airport, he found Brenda already in the kitchen.

"Good morning, Jake! I made breakfast for you, dear. Sit down and enjoy before you leave for the trip!" Brenda said with a warm smile.

"Thanks, Mrs. Sutton. That was really kind of you..." Jake sat down while Brenda tried to hide her nervousness.

"Here's your orange juice!" She placed a glass on the table.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

"Ah...I badly needed some refreshment. My head's been hurting since last night," Jake took a sip. "It tastes nice...uhm…nice…."

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Around ten minutes later, he started yawning and looked at Brenda. "Weird...I feel a bit dizzy all of a sudden," he said as Brenda grinned wickedly.

She had spiked Jake's juice with the sleeping pills because she knew this was the only way to bring the truth to light.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

"Oh, are you feeling okay, Jake? Maybe you should lie down and rest for a bit," Brenda said.

Struggling to keep his eyes open, Jake yawned and agreed. Another ten minutes later, he had already dozed off on the couch, just like how Brenda had wanted.

She paced back and forth, waiting for the next big thing to happen. "What's taking her so long? It's 5:30," Brenda mumbled under her breath. She knew Harper could not fly without a passport and plane ticket.

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So she kept checking Jake's phone on the table, hoping for Harper to call or text him. Suddenly, Jake's phone rang, shattering the stillness in the room.

But the phone on the table was not the one that was ringing. Brenda was puzzled as she listened to the ring intently. It was coming from the pocket of Jake's backpack.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

It kept ringing endlessly for the seventh time, the caller's name "Sarah" flashing on the screen. But Brenda never answered the call. Eventually, a message notification popped on the screen.

"How could you oversleep, idiot?

Have you forgotten that today is the flight to London?

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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, awaiting her daughter-in-law's arrival.

Around 30 minutes later, Brenda peered through the peephole and saw a taxi pull up outside. She knew it was time to call the cops.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

"Hello...I'm calling to report a robbery...yes, I'll tell you the address..." Brenda gave the dispatcher Jake's address and a few other details.

"Sure, Ma'am. Help is on the way," the dispatcher said.

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

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"Jake! Are you kidding me? It's not the time to sleep. We're getting late. 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 as soon as she turned around.

A startled Harper collapsed on the floor and blacked out. Moments later, Brenda heard the sirens of cop cruisers outside Jake's house and hurried outside.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

"Good gracious, Officer! Thanks for coming," Brenda rushed to the Sheriff.

"Someone reported a break-in and burglary at this address," the cop said.

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"Oh, it's me. You have to see this...please come with me," Brenda said as she hurried inside and took the two fake passports and flight tickets from Jake's bag.

"Fake passports? Oh! We know her...but we thought she died in the car crash a week ago…And you are?" The Officer turned to Brenda.

"I'm her mother-in-law...she's my late son's wife," Brenda painfully said.

Jake and Harper were loaded into the ambulance and taken to the hospital. Later, they were driven to the police station for interrogation.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

"Jake, you can't hide the truth anymore. We have evidence. It's time to come clean. Tell me...where's the $5 million?" the detective asked Jake in the interrogation room.

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But Jake refused to confess. "There's nothing to tell you… I don't know anything," he argued. Meanwhile, Harper decided to come clean when she learned her sentence could get cut off if she confessed the truth.

"We bribed a morgue worker and stole the body of a dead homeless woman. We put the body, along with my gold chain, in the driver's seat of my car…and poured gasoline. We set the car on fire, burning the body with it…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.

"The five million has already 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 could get away with it. But…" Harper paused and broke down, burying her head in her cuffed hands.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Getty Images

For illustration purposes only | Source: Getty Images

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