A woman in mourning for her mother is startled when she goes to her mother’s house after the funeral and discovers a tiny hidden door behind her wardrobe – but what surprises her more is what she finds inside it.
Terry Simmons and her brother Harold moved from Edmond to Austin about ten years ago to pull their family out of the financial bottom and partly because they didn’t have any other option.
Terry was 18 years old when her mother Amanda became bedridden due to a terminal illness, and to pay her mother’s bills and pay for Harold’s college, she relocated to Austin, where she was offered a position at a construction firm. When Harold finished college, he moved in with her, and they began splitting Amanda’s bills because Terry barely had anything left for herself by the end of the month when she was bearing the expenses alone.
Terry and Harold’s father Jacob hadn’t been really supportive to them ever since their family was plunged into a financial bottom, which is why Terry had to step in to care for Amanda. The young girl had hired a professional nurse to care for her while she was away because she knew her father did nothing but live off their savings and squander money on his whims.
However, what she wasn’t aware of was that after she and Harold moved out, Jacob had become a living beast to Amanda! He stank of booze all the time, and when he didn’t have any, he threatened Amanda for the money Terry and Harold sent her every month for her medications and the nurse’s salary so that he could buy more alcohol for himself.
“You better give me the money your useless kids are wasting on a sick scumbag like you! You are going to die anyway. It’s not like that money will save you!” he’d lash out at her.
When Amanda tried to resist and retort that he wouldn’t allow him to touch a dime of it, he’d topple everything in the room in his wrath, hunting for the money, and if he couldn’t locate it, he’d even try to physically harm her. Tired of the squabbles and incessant physical and emotional abuse, the poor woman decided to flee the house with the nurse’s help. But unfortunately, they never got the chance to as Jacob was always around.
In the end, Amanda’s heart couldn’t stand the constant abuse and bickering, and she passed away. The nurse, Caroline, had a sneaking fear that the terrible day would arrive soon as she’d seen how troubled Amanda was, but it happened sooner than she’d expected. She called Terry immediately and informed her that Amanda had passed away in her sleep.
Terry sank on the floor, sobbing when she received the heart-breaking news, and Harold had to step in to handle the funeral arrangements. He booked a flight to Edmond and persuaded Terry to accompany him. She’d been so shocked by her mother’s death that she couldn’t bring herself to see Amanda lifeless in a coffin. She relented only because Harold persuaded her, and Caroline informed her that she needed to tell her something crucial.
When the funeral was over and everyone left, Terry noticed her father was nowhere to be seen. “Caroline,” she said. “Where’s dad? I didn’t see him.”
“Well,” Caroline paused. “He’s not coming, Terry. He is the cause of your mother’s death…” Caroline described how Amanda had suffered due to Jacob and how much he had tortured her, including hurting her physically when he couldn’t find the money.
Terry couldn’t contain her rage when she learned that, and it all started making sense to her why their house had been in such disarray when she first arrived from the airport. Sure, their house had never been a massive mansion or aesthetically pleasing, but it looked far worse now. It was nearly broken down, there were open alcohol bottles everywhere, and the inside of the house looked like it hadn’t been repaired in years!
“Mom said they fixed the bathroom and kitchen, but this house looks like it hasn’t seen a screwdriver in years, and it’s all Dad’s fault!” Terry was furious as she drove back home with Harold from the funeral service.
She stormed into the home, looking for Jacob, but he was nowhere to be seen. Terry reasoned that because he didn’t have a home or anywhere else to go, he’d return home sooner or later, which is exactly what happened.
Three days later, when she and Harold returned home from grocery shopping, Terry found him in Amanda’s room, stinking of alcohol and with beer bottles laying around him.
“You’re a monster! You killed mom!” she screamed at the top of her lungs and pounced on him. “You tortured her to death! You should be in jail! How did you get in here, uh? You came from the backyard, didn’t you, you loser!”
Jacob was so inebriated that he didn’t even fight back. “Umm….I…” he murmured incoherently.
Harold intervened to stop Terry, but she was so enraged that she pushed Jacob and started seeking something to strike him with. She had a vase in her hand and was about to smack him over the head with it when she noticed Amanda’s closet had been moved to the side due to her pushing Jacob in that direction, and there was something behind it.
“What is it?” she wondered and began moving the closet further. Harold stepped in to assist her, and as it was pushed aside, the siblings stood there bewildered, staring at the tiny door behind it.
“I had no idea we had stuff like this in here,” Terry wondered.
The tiny door had a latch on it that Harold broke using a screwdriver he found in the table’s drawer, which was in one corner of the room.
When the siblings dug inside it to see what was there, they were surprised to find money wrapped in multiple layers of cloth and paper. After they had removed all of the money, they peered inside the door to see if there was anything else, and there they discovered an almost crumpled note. It was written in Amanda’s handwriting.
“Dear Terry and Harold,
This is mom. Your father might try to harm you if he finds you with this money. He is a horrible man, and I request you take all the money and move somewhere away from him. I’m sorry I never told you anything about him. I think I should have. To be honest, Caroline would have called you long back and revealed everything, but I begged her not to because I didn’t want you to see your mother so vulnerable and hurt in her final days.
I didn’t really have a happy life, but I want to thank both of you for taking such good care of me. Consider this money as the only inheritance your poor mother could afford. I request you to share it with Caroline because she was the only one who saved me from Jacob’s blows and abuses, although for a short while. I’m hoping you’ll forgive me for not telling you the whole truth. Mom loves both of you.
With love, Mom.”
The siblings realized that Amanda didn’t spend all the money they’d sent her, instead, she stashed it inside the secret room to keep it from Jacob.
It’s been ten years since that awful day. Terry and Harold are now married, and each has their own family. They get together every year for celebrations, and once a year, they pay a visit to Caroline, who resigned from her work as a nurse to start an NGO.
After discovering the money, Terry and Harold offered Caroline half of it and she felt that the best way to put the money to good use would be to help people like Amanda, so she founded an NGO to protect women from abuse and domestic violence.
As far as Jacob is concerned, he became homeless, and no one knows where he is now. Following Amanda’s death, Terry and Harold kicked him out and turned him over to the cops to ensure he paid for his actions. Later, they sold their old house to start a new business in their mother’s name, which by God’s grace became exceedingly successful and now operates throughout the United States.
Jacob never reappeared in their lives, and they thank God every day for it.
What can we learn from this story?
- Some folks need to learn a lesson the hard way. Jacob tortured Amanda and ended up paying the price for his sins.
- Never, ever hide anything from your family. If Amanda had told her children the truth, they might have been able to help her get out of the sticky situation.