How Does Mental Illness Affect the Family

It is quite evident that mental illness is a powerful negative force that divides and destroys the family life. I have written a short flash fiction story to reflect the experience and relationship of a ten-year-old girl with her grandmother.

The Bridal Gown
Jenny peered through the door, which was cracked open, and saw her grandmother swinging and swaying back and forth, holding the hem of her dress as she smiled at the mirror. She hummed and danced, ever so happy. It was not like grandma to behave in such a way. Her parents had explained to Jenny that “Grandma is sick. She cannot see anyone right now.” On the dresser were multiple bottles of medications.

###

Eleanor sat on the edge of the bed with her arms crossed, rocking her body. Her blank face was livid…pale. She stared at a picture on the dresser where all her medicines were placed. Then, something snapped, she smiled, stood up and took the picture in her hands. In her wedding picture she donned a gray, somber plain cotton summer dress. Her husband, John, young and handsome, like Jimmy Dean, wore his Army uniform.

Yes, she thought. That was the best time of my life. She looked in the mirror. Her mind transported her to a moment of the past, or so she thought. Her hair was no longer white. It was braided and black. On it rested a white lace veil. Her beautiful deep-set dark eyes with long lashes shone brightly. Dressed in a bodice shoulder-less white gown covered with lace, her creamy-white shoulders, and her breast cleavage made her face shine with beauty. She picked up her train and hummed the wedding march and swayed back and forth, holding her white sexually provocative bridal gown. She had dreamt of this moment all her life. It had finally come to pass. Today was the day she would become Mrs. John Wilson. I love him, and I’m going to make him proud of me, she thought as she admired her image. Yes, she thought. It has come to pass.

###

Jenny ran to her mother, and cried, “Mommy. Mommy, grandma is better. She’s singing and dancing. I saw her!”

“That’s wonderful, Jenny. I know she’s getting better. Soon she’ll be herself again. We miss grandma, don’t we? But she’s going to get better. Just you wait!”

###

Jenny wiped away a tear from her rosy cheek. She smelled the scarlet red rose, whose fragrance reminded her of grandma’s body odor. She walked to the coffin and laid the rose on the shiny varnished wooden surface.

Jenny sobbed as the casket was lowered into the grave. “Good-bye grandma, good-bye.”

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