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The Stunned Nun


I had an aunt named Dolly. The name suited her, as she was small and petite.

When Dolly was about eighteen years old she got engaged to a young man named Tom. Tom's father was very fond of Dolly and he was thrilled at the idea that Dolly would be his daughter-in-law.

A few months into their engagement, Dolly met someone named Bernard and it soon became clear that Bernard was the man that she wanted to spend the rest of her life with.

Explaining this to Tom was no easy task and Tom's furious reply was "It doesn't matter how long it takes me, I will get you for this!"

Dolly and Bernard were married and had six children. Immediately after the first baby's birth, Dolly became severely depressed. The depression stayed with her for the rest of her life.

Bernard's sister Doris was a nun. Each year Doris would visit Bernard and Dolly for a few weeks. While Bernard was at work and the kids were at school, Doris and Dolly would keep each other company.

One day, Doris and Dolly were sitting in the living room chatting. Dolly excused herself to fetch something from the bedroom. From the chair where Doris was sitting, she could see all the way down the passage, right into Dolly's bedroom.

Dolly walked into her room and a few seconds later returned toward the living room. As Dolly was walking, Doris stared wide-eyed at Dolly, then fainted in her chair.

Dolly couldn't wake Doris so she wiped her face with a wet cloth. Doris finally sat up and explained the reason that she fainted.

Doris said "When you came walking down the passage, I saw the spirit of a man walking behind you". Doris went on to explain what the man looked like.

Finally Dolly replied "I know him, that was Tom's father".

The fact that Tom threatened Dolly, makes me wonder whether he had something to do with her depression. Throughout her married life Dolly used to visit the doctor frequently and she was in and out of various clinics. There were so many pills in her cupboard that she could have started her own drugstore.

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The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, Meldel, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

Meldel (6 stories) (39 posts)
7 years ago (2017-10-07)
Hi Jubeele
I don't think Doris visited often enough to notice the extent of Dollys illness. If she did, she didn't mention anything. Also, being a nun, I doubt Doris would believe the theory that Tom and his father could actually have been the cause of Dollys illness. I do believe however that Dolly and Bernard are finally both at rest.
Jubeele (26 stories) (897 posts)
7 years ago (2017-10-06)
I know that depression isn't something one can simply say: "snap out of it". It would've been awful for both of them. Poor Bernard, watching Dolly suffer and not being able to help her, despite all his attempts. He was a good husband though, stayed with her for all those years.

Also, if Dolly was taking a whole heap of pills, it would've created another set of problems as well. Think about the side-effects... Was Doris was able to give prayers of comfort to help Dolly once she had recovered from her experience? Dolly could've benefited from counseling too from someone she trusted.

It's terrible that Tom and his father's spitefulness eventuated in so much suffering. But I don't think Tom would ever be truly "happy" though. I believe that people who ill-wish others often undermine their own happiness and cause their own downfall.

I do hope Dolly and Bernard are reunited and finally at peace, where no amount of jealous spite can ever hurt them. ❤
Meldel (6 stories) (39 posts)
7 years ago (2017-10-06)
Hi Jubeele
Very interesting question! You know the strange thing is that Bernard ended up having to deal with a wife who was so severely depressed that he probably regretted marrying her. That is why I think that Tom and his father did something to make sure that Dolly's marriage was not a happy one. To try make her happy Bernard would rush off to the jeweller store to buy her a ring or a watch or a bracelate each time she went into a state of deep depression. She ended up with more rings than fingers! The doctor told her to keep herself busy by sewing or knitting, etc and she ended up with two sewing machines and a knitting machine. She couldn't work any of them and didn't really bother trying. By the time they were really elderly (70s) he left her in the capable hands of their eldest son and went on a 4-5 month well-deserved holiday. Not long after his return he became ill and passed away. I'm sure Tom was happy (wherever he was then). Dolly passed away some years later. I always felt terribly sorry for Bernard.
Jubeele (26 stories) (897 posts)
7 years ago (2017-10-06)
I shudder at what your poor aunt must have endured over the years. My ex harassed me for months after we separated with abusive calls. There are days I still prefer to let the answer-machine screen my calls on the landline. It was just as well Dolly didn't marry into such an unpleasant family. Did Bernard ever felt threatened in any way or was all the hostility aimed solely at her?
Meldel (6 stories) (39 posts)
7 years ago (2017-10-05)
Hi AugustaM
I don't think it crossed her mind to seek any sort of help. Pity she didn't because I think she would have lived a much happier life had she gone to see someone who could help her.
AugustaM (7 stories) (996 posts)
7 years ago (2017-10-02)
Poor Dolly! I get the feeling that you are right in your assumptions, Meldel... Love has the capacity to warp the human mind when it is not returned. Sounds like life with Tom was not pleasant even though she wasn't married to him... What a nightmare it might have been had Bernard not come along! What a tragedy that a vindictive soul was able to spoil her happiness...

Did Dolly ever seek out any sort of religious or spiritual help? A cleansing or blessing of some sort might have helped shake Tom's (or his father's) influence over her. I hope she found peace and happiness.
Meldel (6 stories) (39 posts)
7 years ago (2017-09-29)
Hi lady-glow.

I'm not sure when Tom's father passed but I've always felt that there was a strong connection between Tom, his father and Dolly.
I was told that Tom was really angry when Dolly broke the engagement. I may be wrong but I believe that Tom had something to do with Dolly's depression. He threatened her to the extent that he meant exactly what he said.
lady-glow (16 stories) (3158 posts)
7 years ago (2017-09-28)
It makes me wonder if Tom's father got obsessed with Dolly and follow her after his passing. It would be horrible if Tom had cursed Dolly by condemning his own father to follow her after his (father's) death.

Do you by any chance know if Tom's father died around the time Dolly's depression started?

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