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Skeletons In The Closet: Who Will Find Yours After Your Death?

Updated on May 27, 2015
Skeleton in the Closet
Skeleton in the Closet | Source

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I had a medical emergency once that required me to be hospitalized for 4 days. During that time several family members converged on my home in an attempt to help take care of my children and my household. This sounds like a beautiful thing at first. And it was. It is. It helped me to know that my own mother was caring for my children and that my sister was there to help out, along with several other trusted loved ones. But my heart sank when I found out that a couple of "shady" people had been inside my house. You know, those family members that should never be left alone because they like to snoop and scoop. I worried about what these people were saying and doing around my children. I was stressed to the max wondering if my jewelry, diary and clothes were being carried away in someone's purse or pocket. Boy I couldn't wait to get home! Eventually I did get home and I didn't notice anything missing or out of place. And my children were fine.

In the Event of My Demise: Taking Precautions

After I settled back into my abode I started thinking. What do I not want people to find when they go through my things after I die? Have you ever thought about this? When you pass away or cannot fend for yourself due to illness or injury, somebody will be going through your belongings. Personal, private stuff. We all have secrets. Some are good, some are bad, some are horrible. Just take a moment to think about what you have hidden under your mattress, in your closet, in your email account, under your dresser, etc. Do you have a diary with deep, heartfelt expressions and secrets in it? What would happen to your family if the pages of your diary became public? Does it have the potential to destroy lives and marriages and relationships? Of course, you will be dead and gone. So why worry about what happens after you leave this earth, right? Well depending on what your loved ones find you may be remembered as a lying bastard instead of a loving mother and wife. Instead of being a loving nephew you could suddenly become a porn-addicted pervert. Or maybe it will be your dear old aunt who discovers something rather personal in your nightstand drawer. (Ahem!) Sure, your family will still love you but that last memory of you is what tends to stick in people's minds.

On the flip side, why should anyone live life with the fear of being exposed as a flawed human being. I mean, who doesn't have skeletons in their closet? I think people should keep secrets to some degree. It's the damaging secrets that worry me. What if your wife died and you later discovered that she lied to you about the paternity of one of your children? You don't have the opportunity to ask her anything or to find out what happened. What a horrible way to find out. What if a daughter finds out that her mother intentionally kept her father from her? I think of the legacy I leave to my children and how my leftover secrets will affect them. I don't want to save up a potential devastation for them.

As for me, I had a couple of items that I would have died twice if anybody ever found them. I got rid of them. As for my journals, I added a warning to the front cover of each one: "To the person who discovers this journal after my death. The pages and everything on them are highly personal. I cannot stop you from reading them but I would rather you didn't. My dying request is that you burn this journal and help me to protect the contents of my heart. Thank you". Awww. Don't you love how I tried to tug at the heartstrings there? I don't expect it to work but it's worth a shot.

Checklist: Potential Bombs

I compiled a list of things that you may want to reconsider keeping in your home in the event that you are incapacitated, or dead.

  1. Diaries or Journals
  2. Cell phone with pictures and text conversations or emails
  3. Secret email accounts
  4. Username and password log book
  5. Letters from a secret lover
  6. Stolen property
  7. Drugs and drug paraphernalia
  8. Porn magazines/movies
  9. Vibrators and other sex toys
  10. Naughty pictures of you

Ask yourself why you're holding on to a particular item and make a decision about what to do with it.

My suggestion is that you make a pact with a very trusted friend or loved one. Tell them that in the event you should pass away or need to be hospitalized you need them to discretely dispose of or relocate certain personal items. If you aren't comfortable telling them where these secret items are just yet, draw up some written directions for them to follow with the locations of any hot items. Hide this list somewhere in your home and let them know where it is. Make it a place that is easy for them to remember. Places like the third drawer on the left side will be easily forgotten. In an envelope stuck inside our high school yearbook is an easy one to recall. You might even make it a point to buy a book or movie that you both love and place the list inside it.

I hope you take the time to think this through. It WILL happen to you, but hopefully no time soon :)

Has reading this article caused you to think about the future?

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  • rebeccamealey profile image

    Rebecca Mealey 23 months ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

    What a great idea for a Hub! You are very right. This is something to really give a thought to. I like the list you added!

  • Motherbynature profile image
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    Motherbynature 23 months ago from Los Angeles, CA

    Hi Au fait. It looks like you are all squared away in this area. Thanks for reading and for sharing.

  • Au fait profile image

    C E Clark 23 months ago from North Texas

    I have some journals from years ago, but there's nothing earth shattering in them. I've always told my daughter since she was a little girl NEVER to write down anywhere, anything she wouldn't want read on the national evening news. Never imagine your best friend is such a good friend s/he won't tell the world your deepest darkest secret if s/he thinks it will somehow benefit him or herself. Better to keep such secrets to oneself if they exist.

    I have no secrets. In fact many family members imagine far worse things about me that what are true. If only I'd had even a tenth of the fun I'm accused of, ya know?

    My daughter is the only person who will be going through my things. My sibs are much older than me and even if they don't go before I do, they are hundreds and hundreds of miles away and refuse to speak to me, so I doubt they would show up if I died unless they just wanted to make sure.

    Daughter is the only person with a key and I've instructed her not to inform my family if I die, so she is the only one who will be going through any personal things I have left. I don't have any of those things you mentioned on your list. :) But I understand a lot of people might, so it's probably a good idea to deal with them because we never know if our time may be up sooner than expected . . .

    Sharing this article too, so people will have a chance to think about this in case they do have some of those things you mentioned. ;)

  • Motherbynature profile image
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    Motherbynature 2 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

    Thank so much for reading and voting up. I really appreciate it. I did the same thing you did. Some things should stay between me and God.

  • profile image

    Lee Cloak 2 years ago

    Great hub, ive often thought about these things, i better print off your checklist :-), thanks for sharing, voted up, Lee

  • peachpurple profile image

    peachy 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

    I did thought about it, my cellphone is beside me all the time, my passwords booklet is in my clothes, rummage here and there, I have no porn magazines nor naughty pic nor diaries, only thing are y kids being brAinwash by them

  • shiningirisheyes profile image

    Shining Irish Eyes 5 years ago from Upstate, New York

    Its uncanny that I found this hub. The past several years I have lost some people very close to me. I bring this up because I started thinking these same thoughts you had while in the hospital. I cleaned house. Anything I didn't trust in the hands of others went into my memory banks and into the burning barrel. Old letters from long ago boyfriend are not something I care to share with others. As well as a few secrets I would like to keep secret thanks. It gave me peace of mind. It really is one of those things you always tell yourself you will get to. Well, I did.

    Very important hub and I commend you for reminding others of something they think (as I did) won't happen to them. None of us know what tomorrow brings let alone the next hour.

    Outstanding and I'm voting up.

  • pagesvoice profile image

    Dennis L. Page 5 years ago from New York/Pennsylvania border

    Voted up, awesome and interesting. Actually, I think I have purged much of the items that may be deemed uncomfortable for the living. However, in the final analysis, does it really matter what is left behind? I think we leave our footprints with the living while we too are alive and hopefully that is what they remember. Conversely though, a lifetime of good work and good impressions can be shattered by just a few moments of weaknesses. For instance, Joe Paterno, Penn State football coach with an impeccable history and record has now had his statue removed from campus because of bad choices he made that no one realized until after his death. His legacy has now been altered for generations to come.

  • Motherbynature profile image
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    Motherbynature 5 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

    I don't think any of us wants our business out but sooner or later this is what will happen. Thank you for taking the time to read :)

  • Motherbynature profile image
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    Motherbynature 5 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

    I'm glad you enjoyed it xanzacow. Thank you for reading, voting and sharing :)

  • Motherbynature profile image
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    Motherbynature 5 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

    The article is chiefly just food for thought. It's easy to be nonchalant about being human but the people who are left behind to deal with our secrets certainly do not feel that way. At any rate, it's up to us wether we care to address any of it while we are still living.

  • Motherbynature profile image
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    Motherbynature 5 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

    You did the right thing. You are a good friend for preserving his memory in that way.

  • Motherbynature profile image
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    Motherbynature 5 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

    Yes, it is certianly scary innerspin. Thank you for stopping by :)

  • Motherbynature profile image
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    Motherbynature 5 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

    Looks like you're in the clear, Mhatter99 :) Good on you. Thank you for reading.

  • Mhatter99 profile image

    Martin Kloess 5 years ago from San Francisco

    I got remarried after my wife passed. I think my new wife found everything.

  • Free2writ3 profile image

    Free2writ3 5 years ago from Sharon Hill, Pennsylvania

    Wow, I've never thought about things like this. This hub opened my eyes to things...I mean who wants their business out.....great hub...

  • xanzacow profile image

    Cynthia 5 years ago from North Myrtle Beach, SC

    Great thought provoking hub! Up and interesting!

  • profile image

    win-winresources 5 years ago from Colorado

    Hi MBN-

    Interesting argument (with you on both sides).

    No one is perfect. A diary of your longings, erotic materials, old love letters, and the like are all part of many people's lives. They are not shamful, just artifacts of a life that is (was) lived.

    That said, if you have materials that will be more hurtful to the innocent living than just discriptive of your life, why even have/keep them now? If, on the other hand, you have evidence of some sinister secret, whose release would help others, even though it casts a bad (terrible) light on you (or someone you know), after your death, let it see the sun.

    The point is, once you are dead, nothing further matters to you. So, if your deepest secrets can aid the living (even in just greater understanding of you) so be it. If it brings harm, destroy it now.

    As to your sex toys, personal pictures and (legal) adult magazines, who cares? Its all part of a real life.

    As to a pact with a "trusted friend"? This can be an emotional load and an unfair request. Sharing information conveys a burden along with it.

    Lastly, your passwords and usernames should be made available for your heirs, successors and assigns to properly handle your accounts.

    -DW

  • old albion profile image

    Graham Lee 5 years ago from Lancashire. England.

    Really absorbing hub. A family member of mine died some years ago. He lived alone, without mention to anyone else I checked out his video collection. Sure enough there were two videos which would have caused embarrassment. I got rid of them, nobody ever knew and he is thought of today as should be. An upright member of society. I was just being careful for him.

    Graham.

  • innerspin profile image

    innerspin 5 years ago from uk

    Scary thought, isn't it? I don't think I have anything too incriminating, I've never dared write a journal, but then again.....You make a good point.