The story starts below
When your husband of almost 50 years passes away, it can, and often will, have a devestating impact on the widow he leaves behind. This was also the case for Charlotte when her husband John care to pass. But he did not only leave her with a broken heart, but also with a criptic message...Apparantly there was a secret hidden in the painting he had gifted her so many years ago.
And when Charlotte finally discovered the secret message beneith a layer of varnish, it would change everything she had ever know about her mysterious late husband John...
The phone finally rang
Charlotte's hands were shaking as she picked up the ringing phone. She immedaitely recognoized the nummer. It was him. Was she finally about the get the answers she was looking for? Was she finally about to understand her husbands last message to her?
Something beneith the varnish
On the other side of the line, she heard the voice of the man tasked with investigating her husbands painting. He tol Charlotte that she had to come visit him immediately. He had made a big discovery when removing the layer of varnish and only wanted to tell her in person.
A hidden code
When charlotte arrived, the man told her that he had discovered some sort of code hidden in the painting. He didn't recognize it, but Charlotte knew immediately what it meant...
But what had Charlotte's late husband hidden in the painting. To better understand this, a bit of backstory is required.
Charlotte is a widowed and retired woman and had worked as a nurse all her life. She was married to John and had three children. Sinds John passed away, Charlotte had been alone. But she could never forget her late husband. They had been through so much together...
Charlotte met her husband John when the pair were in their early 20's. They were both out in the same bar with a different group of friends, but the moment they saw each other, it was love at first sight. But Charlotte didn't yet have any idea about John's many secrets...
A mysterious man
Charlotte very quickly discoverd that John was quite a mysterious man. He never reall ytalk about his youth or any part of his past really. And even in current times, John was often away without a good explanation for his whereabouts. But Charlotte didn't really care at this time.
Charlotte was completely in love with John and managed to excuse all apparant shortcommings easily. But after they had 2 children togehter, and John was still away as often as before, with the same lack of explanation, it did start to botter Charlotte more and more...
Charlotte started to fear that John was keeping secrets from her and she thus started asking him about where he was spending his time more often. But she was always met with the same response. It was just something work related and not worth explaining.
Still a good man
Charlotte felt like she had no other choice but to accept John's reason. She didn't want to lose John under any circumstances as she still loved him very much and despite his absense, he was still a very good father to their children. Charlotte was content to life like this. For now at least...
Happy but sober life
The family never had a lot of money but that wasn’t a problem since they had each other. Together with their two lovely boys, they lived a happy but sober life together for all those years. But Charlotte's doubt about John never left her mind. one day, she decided to take action...
One day, when John was leaving again for "work" Charlotte decided to follow him. Their sons where at a sleepover so she could leave the house without any worries. She knew she took a risk by following John, but she just had to know if he was telling the truth...
Was John cheating on her?
Charlotte followed John all the way to a very nice restaurant on the edge of town. She waited a while outside and then took a peek through the window. She could not believe her eyes when she saw John having dinner with a pretty, youngwoman! Charlotte stormed into the restaurant.
John immediately had the defence ready this again was work related and the woman he was having dinner with was very quick to back him up. There was little hesitation in their response. Charlotte felt angry but could not prove that John was lying.
A private person
Charlotte and John went home after that and had a hard talk about trust. John promissed that he would try to be more open about what he was doing to Charlotte. But he also claimed to be a very private person and that he did not want to put all his business in the open immediately...
One of the secrets was centered around a drawer in John's room that Charlotte was never allowed to look in. She had tried to look for the key once when he was gone for a few days but never found it. In the end, she had given up on looking for confirmation and blamed herself for being so suspicious.
No life without him
Despite the fact that Charlotte often had doubts about his honesty, she loved him infinitely. Charlotte simply could not live without him and would never leave him, even if he might have been disloyal. Unfortunately, it would soon become clear that Charlotte would be forced to live without John...
When John had been retired a couple years, he was diagnosed with a rare condition. He had health problems for a long time but was always too stubborn to go to the doctor or hospital. When at a certain point it really could not go on like this, he finally went to the doctor and got the bad news.
Little was known about his condition and there had not been a cure discovered for it as of yet. The doctor told him that he did not have long to live anymore and that there was nothing they could do for him. Charlotte thought she would still have some more time with John, but she was sadly mistaken...
A few days ago, after the evening meal, John suddenly became very unwell and Charlotte had to call the emergency number immediately. His health deteriorated rapidly and he had to be hospitalized in critical condition. That night, the doctor told John had only one or two days left to live.
After the bad news, Charlotte had immediately called their two sons and they came to the hospital as soon as they could to say goodbye to their dear father. At that time, none of them had any knowledge of the big secret that their father had been hiding...
A wonderful life
After their boys said goodbye to their father, Charlotte remained alone with him until the end. They talked about the memories they had created together during all their years together, but then John started talking about the wedding gift that John made for her 50 years ago...
The most special one
Over the years, Charlotte had often received beautiful and original gifts from her husband. But there was one special gift that stood out and that she valued the most. But she would soon discover that this gift was not what she thought it was. Not one bit...
Passion for painting
John had always been a creative person and his big passion was painting. After he had made many paintings and sketches, he decided to make a beautiful painting for his wife. When he gifted it to Charlotte, he told her that she could never get rid of it, claiming it would break his heart.
His last words
John's situation deteriorated quickly and unfortunately, his time had come. With his last breath, he told his wife Charlotte that the painting wasn't a normal painting. She had to look closer at the painting to find the truth in the art. Charlotte was completely stumped by this...
Days go by
Before she could ask John what he meant, she saw his eyes close. They closed for the final times. Charlotte cried for and was overwhelmed with emotions for days on end, completely forgetting John's final words to her. But then she noticed the painting...
She had no idea what her husband had meant but decided to take a look anyway. She checked all sides of the painting but couldn't find anything out of the ordinary. There had to be something, her husband said it for a reason. After searching for a while longer, she came up with an idea.
Charlotte had an old friend who used to restored paintings for a living. If there was anyone who could help her further with the painting it would be him. There was only one problem, she didn't know if the man was still alive, so she immediately tried to look him up.
A thick layer
After some struggle, Charlotte had finally found her old friend and thankfully he was still alive. He immediately started working on the painting. He quickly noticed that the painting seemed to have a noticably thick layer of top layer. A mistake that John never made with his other painting.
Hidden behind the varnish
If there was something hidden in this painting, it had to be hidden under this extra thick layer and he carefully started to remove it. When he had succeeded, he called Charlotte to tell her that he had discovered something very special behind the varnish...
She quickly rushed to his workplace to have a look at what he had just discovered. He had told her over the phone that there was a mysterious message behind the top layer of the painting. This was only a small part of a huge secret that Charlotte was about to discover...
When Charlotte arrived at the workshop and looked at the painting, she couldn't believe her eyes. There was an address written on it with a code, and it was clearly her husband's handwriting so he must have done this. But that wasn’t all. Next to the address, there was a code written down...
The local bank
She recognized the address immediately, as it belonged to the local bank where she and her husband had an account. But the code meant nothing to her. She really had no idea whether this was another bank number or maybe a safety deposit box number. But she would find out very soon...
Not what she had expected
Together with the painting restorer, she went to the local bank immediately and asked one of the bank employees if he could find some more information about the code. When she showed the address and code to the man, but his reaction was not at all what she had expected...
Closed for 50 years
The bank employee was surprised because he recognized the code right away. It was one of the oldest safes of the bank and no one had opened it in 50 years. Everyone at the bank at sometimes wondered if anyone would come for this safe at all. Today was finally the day.
Immediately after the bank employee found out which safe Charlotte had come for, he called security. Charlotte thought something was wrong, but she was told it was for her own safety. Through all of this, it felt more and more like this could all not be real...
Minutes felt like hours
Together with the bank teller and the security guard, Charlotte walked towards the room where the specific safe was located. With each step she took, it seemed as if her heart began to beat faster. And even though it wasn’t even a half-minute walk, it felt like hours for her...
A box and satin gloves
As soon as she entered the room, her mouth fell open. Everywhere she looked she saw safes, and in the center of the room was a large marble table on which layed a pair of satin gloves and a black box. She had always thought that rooms like this where for the rich only.
Could it be money?
Throughout this process, mainly after she discovered that John waas trying to lead her to a bank, Charelotte started to suspect that she was maybe going to find some money John had kept hidden away. But why would he have done that. And how would he have even gotten that money?
What on earth could it be?
This whole room made Charlotte even more confused. In her mind it seemed impossible that John hid a large amount of money from her. But why go through all this effort to hide a small amount? Was it even money at all? Fortunately, she was about to find this out...
Closing the door
Before she was allowed to open the safe, Charlotte had to sign several documents. A few moments later, an extra security guard came in and closed the door. When the door was closed, the bank employee put on the satin gloves and opened the black box on the table.
A small device
When Charlotte took a look inside the box, she saw something she had never seen before. The bank employee pulled a small device with flashing lights out of the box. It looked like it was straight out of a science-fiction movie. But it soon became clear what the device was...
A special method
The bank employee explained to her that the device was used to scan fingerprints. This was only common for a select number of very special safes, which included her husband John's safe. After she put her finger on it and the light turned green, they could finally open the safe.
This can't be true
When she opened the safe, she saw more money than she had ever seen. But all this money could never have belonged to her husband. Charlotte's mind quickly went to some worst case senario's. But it didn’t stop here, because the money wasn't the only thing storred away in the safe...
Hiding a secret
Next to the money was an envelope and it looked like it contained a letter adressed to Charlotte. She was getting more and more of a feeling that her husband had kept a big secret from her. She opened the envelope and immediately recognized the handwriting.
A handwritten letter
The letter in the safe was written by her husband John almost 50 years ago. It contained a very emotional message and while Charlotte was already completely astonished before finding the letter, this was nothing compared to the feeling she would have after she read the message...
Tears in her eyes
Charlotte asked the bank employee and security guards if they would grant her some privacy for a moment. Once she was alone in the room she began to read the letter and soon found that her gut feeling was confirmed. She was sitting in the room with tears in her eyes.
A great inheritance
In this emotional letter, John wrote to Charlotte that he had inherited a huge sum of money from his uncle when he was only a kid. His uncle was a rich businessman and took care finacially of John since John’s father passed away when he was only 4 years old.
A tragic accident
John's father died in a tragic accident and his mother did not have the financial means to support her children, so he was partly raised by his uncle. Because of this, John and his uncle developed a good relationship. Charlotte knew about this uncle, but not about the realtionship he and John had.
Love and respect
He also explained the reason why he never told Charlotte about the huge amount of money he possessed. This was because he wanted people to love and respect him for his personality. He never really cared about money and didn't want people in his life who did.
His rich uncle
Since his rich uncle had raised him as his son, he knew how his uncle was used by people who were after his money. He saw from a young age that they treated his uncle differently once they knew he was rich and he didn't want to go through this himself. But this was not all...
An emotional end
In the last part of the emotional letter, he wrote that all the inherited money was for Charlotte and the kids so they could do anything she wanted for their rest. He also was really thankful for the love and the respect he had received from Charlotte for all those years together.
One last tribute
Charlotte was so emotional and touched by John's beautiful words and wanted to make one last tribute to him. She found it difficult to do and didn't want to do it alone. But she absolutely wanted to do something for her husband so she finally came up with an idea.
A world trip
With the money, Charlotte took a trip around the world with her two children. This was in memory of her dear husband John and it was a very emotional and beautiful trip. When they returned Charlotte started thinking about what she could do with the remaining part of the inheritance.
Because she had lived frugally with John all her life, she didn't know what to do with so much money. She had lived a certain way for years and didn't feel like she wanted to change this. It took her a very long time before she finally found something to spend the money on...
A generous gift
Since she didn't really need the money herself and her children were also already very successful and finincially secure, she decided to do something very generous. She donated a big part of the money to a fund that was researching the disease that John had died from.
A new idea
But that wasn't all, with the remaining money she also wanted to give something back to John himself. And since he had always had a passion for painting and the painting for their wedding had changed her life, she came up with an idea. But it wasn’t going to be easy.
The local museum
To pay tribute to John, she contacted a friend of hers who worked at a local museum. She arranged for John's paintings to hang here in exchange for a donation. It was always John's dream to hang in a museum with his art and now it will finally come true.
Despite having been lied to all her life, Charlotte held no grudge against her husband. She knew he had done this for a good reason and she understood him too. She was convinced that they would meet again in heaven and could tell him that what he had done was no big deal.
This story is a work of fiction created for entertainment. Characters and events are the products of the author’s imagination. The images shown are used for illustration only.