My Grandfather’s Silent War With His Depressed Mind


My Grandfather suffered from schizophrenia. My mom used to tell me the after he came back from the Second War world (he was in the resistance) he was never the same. His illness just got worse, and he would sometimes have severe episodes, in which he would run up into the mountains thinking the war was back. Or, after he lost his business because his partner ripped him off, he was up entire nights going over the numbers in the accounting books thinking there was a mistake.

It was a really sad story.

I remember when I was four years old, my Grandmother (his wife) went to the hospital to get heart surgery. During the recovery, she suffered a stroke and died. When my Grandfather realized she wasn’t coming back, he committed suicide.

How sad it was for my mom to lose both her parents in one week. I can’t help but feel for her living through that pain when she was just 22 years old. I don’t remember my grandparents very well because I was four but I just remember a feeling of warmth and kindness from them.

I think mental illness is penalized in our society because people think it is something you have the power to change, at will. It is not. Mental illness is something you struggle with in silence. It is hard to comprehend and sometimes dismissed too easily.

Greta Cavazzoni