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The Library - Searching for Documents

Finding unexpected information about your loved one

Grief & Wellbeing

Things to remember about discovering secrets

  • Secrets are a normal part of every person’s life. Nobody shares every aspect of themselves even with those closest to them.
  • It’s OK to feel overwhelmed or angry at a new revelation, but those are just feelings. They don’t mean you didn’t know the person.
  • This is just a new thing you now know about your loved one. It makes them more, not less.
    Once you face your feelings, you will likely realize this wasn’t really a surprise. It was always consistent with the person you knew.

It doesn’t mean you didn’t know them; it just means they weren’t what you thought – they were more than you thought.

Things to remember about discovering secrets

Once someone you loved is gone, you might think there’s nothing left to learn about them. After all, you cannot create any new memories together. But sometimes you discover new information that casts everything you thought you knew about them into a whole new light.

If you are one of the family or friends responsible for sorting through the contents of a home, a storage locker, or a safe-deposit box, you might expect to find familiar trinkets or long-hidden treasures. But there is always a chance you will find documents or mementos you never even suspected existed.

Closing out the material aspects of a loved one’s life can often be overwhelming or even painful. When you remove their belongings from their physical space, it can seem like losing them all over again, and heightened emotions can leave you crushed by memories that flood back all at once. If in the midst of all that you also discover secrets you weren’t meant to see or facts that your loved one neglected to mention, it can feel too huge to manage. Even if they’re happy secrets, the revelation can be very unsettling.