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I Found a Message While Renovating Our Late Parents’ Home – My Brother, Who Wanted to Sell the House, Is Now Furious

When our parents passed away, they left properties for their sons to divide, including their childhood home. While Aaron wants to sell the old house, Ian decides that there’s something special to it and claims the house, hoping to renovate it to its glory. As he and his wife, Laura, renovate the house, they find a note from Ian’s father, taking them to a box hidden beneath an oak tree in the garden. The content of the box changes everything…

Of course, when our parents died, my brother revealed his true materialistic colors. Following their death, we inherited some property, including two houses. One house was where our parents lived during their last years, and the other was the run-down house where we grew up.

Tombstones next to each other | Source: Midjourney

Tombstones next to each other | Source: Midjourney

Our dad was a sentimental man, and despite our attempts to convince him to sell the old place, he always refused, hoping that one day, we would renovate it and raise our families there, just like he did.

“It’s a great place to raise a family, boys,” he would say.

An old family home | Source: Midjourney

An old family home | Source: Midjourney

When he died, my brother, Aaron, insisted we sell the old house and split the money.

“Come on, Ian,” he would say. “Just go with it. We can do so much more with the money than trying to sort that house out.”

A person holding a sign and a clipboard | Source: Pexels

A person holding a sign and a clipboard | Source: Pexels

But I couldn’t do it. That house meant something to my father. And it was his greatest wish to save the place, so I chose to keep the old house while my brother, thinking I was foolish, took the new one.

As time went on and my wife, Laura, and I began to renovate the house, it finally dawned on me that there was so much work to be done.

A house being renovated | Source: Pexels

A house being renovated | Source: Pexels

“I don’t know if I made a mistake with this,” I told Laura when we went back to our apartment and made sandwiches in between the renovations.

“No, Ian,” she said. “This was your father’s wish, and we need to honor it. It’s going to take some time and effort, but it will be worth it.”

A sandwich on a plate | Source: Pexels

A sandwich on a plate | Source: Pexels

I nodded and helped myself to a beer to calm my nerves. Everything was going to be all right, I just needed to trust the process and believe in the vision that my father had.

It turned out that a piece of faded wallpaper would change everything.

One day, as Laura was out choosing tiles for the newly refreshed bathroom, I was pulling out the wallpaper in the upstairs bedrooms. As I ripped it piece by piece, I found a message from my father.

People holding tile samples | Source: Pexels

People holding tile samples | Source: Pexels

There, clear as day beneath the wallpaper was a message saying that whoever finally renovated the house, restoring her to her beauty, should go to a specific spot in the garden and dig up a box.

“What? Are you sure that this is from your father?” Laura asked me when she came back to the house, fast food in her hand.

Torn old wallpaper | Source: Midjourney

Torn old wallpaper | Source: Midjourney

“It’s his handwriting,” I confirmed. “So, do you think we should go into the garden and look?”

Laura read the message, her eyes widening.

To my children, the ones who see the value in the past, go to the old oak tree in the garden and dig. You will find something that will help you restore this home and carry on our family legacy. Love, Dad.

An elderly man writing a note | Source: Pexels

An elderly man writing a note | Source: Pexels

“We’ve got to find that box,” Laura said, determination in her voice.

We grabbed some shovels and headed out to the garden, our hearts racing with anticipation.

The old oak tree stood tall and majestic, just as it had when Aaron and I were kids. My wife and I began to dig at its base, the soil giving way easily beneath our shovels.

An oak tree in a garden | Source: Midjourney

An oak tree in a garden | Source: Midjourney

Finally, I hit something solid. Carefully, we unearthed a small, weathered box. Inside was a stack of papers.

Reading through the documents, I felt tears in my eyes.

A wooden box covered with soil | Source: Midjourney

A wooden box covered with soil | Source: Midjourney

These papers were dated fairly recently, so I knew that my father had done this just before his death. The papers detailed a savings account that my dad had set aside specifically for the restoration of the old house.

“Wow,” Laura said, reading over my shoulder.

Dollar bills on a surface | Source: Pexels

Dollar bills on a surface | Source: Pexels

She went inside to get us two bottles of water, wiping the sweat away from her forehead with her hand.

But that wasn’t all. There was also a deed to a newer seaside house in a nearby town, designated for whoever chose to honor my father’s wish.

A group of seaside houses | Source: Unsplash

A group of seaside houses | Source: Unsplash

“I can’t believe it,” I told Laura as we sat in a coffee shop at the end of the day. “He really had it all planned?”

“But what would have happened if you sold the house with Aaron as he wanted? Nobody would have known about this. Except the new owners of the house.”

“I think he always knew that I would be the one to keep the house,” I mused. “But at the same time, I don’t know how this is going to sit with Aaron.”

A couple sitting together | Source: Unsplash

A couple sitting together | Source: Unsplash

We didn’t have to wait long to find out.

A few days later, Aaron and his wife, Daisy, invited us over for dinner.

“It’s been a while,” Aaron told me over the phone. “I promised Mom that when it was just the two of us left, we would always do dinner together from time to time.”

A man using his phone | Source: Unsplash

A man using his phone | Source: Unsplash

Laura made a few dishes and we bought a cherry pie to take over for dessert.

“You don’t have to tell him now,” my wife said, smiling at me before we left home.

“I do,” I said. “It’s now or never.”

As we sat down to dinner, I decided that it was time to reveal our father’s plans to Aaron.

Food on a table | Source: Pexels

Food on a table | Source: Pexels

Of course, his reaction was explosive.

“This is ridiculous!” he shouted. “Why should you get everything just because you decided to keep the old dump that we grew up in?”

“It was Dad’s wish,” I said simply, trying to stay calm.

An angry man | Source: Unsplash

An angry man | Source: Unsplash

Laura pushed a glass of water toward me and held onto my hand under the table. I knew that she wanted me to keep my cool and not react to Aaron with the same energy he was giving me.

“Dad wanted this house to stay in the family, you knew that, brother,” I said.

A person holding a glass of water | Source: Unsplash

A person holding a glass of water | Source: Unsplash

“But I didn’t know that he was going to leave you all this money and another house? Why did he have another house to begin with? I took the new house because it made sense. Daisy and I just got married, we needed a new place for ourselves. This isn’t fair, Ian.”

“It’s not about fairness, Aaron,” I said. “It’s about honoring our father’s legacy. He wanted us to see the value in what he built, to appreciate our history.”

A man looking at the ground | Source: Pexels

A man looking at the ground | Source: Pexels

My brother stormed out of his own dining room. Daisy cut the pie and took a piece outside for him.

For weeks, Aaron and I didn’t speak. But I knew that I had made the right decision. Slowly, the old house began to transform before our eyes.

A slice of cherry pie | Source: Pexels

A slice of cherry pie | Source: Pexels

Laura loved painting the walls and choosing anything that had color. I loved doing the hard work, the manual labor that went into this new labor of love.

Each repaired wall and polished floorboard brought the house back to life, and with it, memories of our childhood.

A woman painting a wall | Source: Pexels

A woman painting a wall | Source: Pexels

Months later, as Laura and I sat in the newly renovated house, drinking wine, my brother stopped by.

“I’ve been thinking,” he said, his voice subdued. “Maybe I overreacted. I just felt like I was being left out.”

“You weren’t,” I assured him. “This was Dad’s way of showing us what was important to him. The new house is yours, just like we agreed.”

A couple drinking wine | Source: Pexels

A couple drinking wine | Source: Pexels

Eventually, Laura and I decided to sell the house in the nearby town.

“Let’s just keep that money for our children,” Laura said. “That way when it comes to their school fees, we can tell them that their granddad made it possible for them to have the best education possible.”

I couldn’t argue with my wife. Now, that our home was sorted, us having moved in and given up our apartment, we were ready for the next chapter of our lives.

A little boy holding a wooden block | Source: Pexels

A little boy holding a wooden block | Source: Pexels

What would you have done?

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