Not waving, but drowning . . . .

Not Waving but Drowning

Nobody heard him, the dead man,
But still he lay moaning:
I was much further out than you thought
And not waving but drowning.

Poor chap, he always loved larking
And now he’s dead
It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way,
They said.

Oh, no no no, it was too cold always
(Still the dead one lay moaning)
I was much too far out all my life
And not waving but drowning.

Stevie Smith

I had planned on posting a piece about the end of my summer.  But, then I was reminded that today is World Suicide Prevention Day.   And I thought about how on May 6th, fourteen years ago, my brother, the baby of the family, sat in the same lounge chair that he often slept in, and ended his life.

Depression is an insidious disease.  Statistically, more people in the world die from suicide than from war and murder combined.  I can understand why:  Life is full of misery and hardship.   There are moments in almost every day that I think this.  But there are also moments in every day when I find something to feel good about or laugh at, and that is enough for me.  That, and having a wonderfully funny son, a loving husband, family, and friends.

My brother and I talked about a lot of things, but we danced around the possibility of suicide.  I worried that if I said the word aloud it would make the possibility more real.

So, let’s talk about it, people.  You can find help and resources here.  Or call 800-273-TALK (8255) now.

Let’s not be afraid to say it:  Don’t die.


My brother, Tom. Taken on my last visit with him, a few weeks before he died.

8 thoughts on “Not waving, but drowning . . . .

  1. Oh, I’m so sorry to hear that. It does seem much more common than I would have thought! What an awful thing for everyone. I’m glad you can share his memory here, though, and possibly help someone in the same situation. I’m sure that would please him. Bless you both.


  2. How did I not know this. But, of course, we were far apart at that time. I am so sorry. Not unknown in my family. God bless – and thank you for this –


  3. I remember Tom quite well and the horror of his passing. Your beautifully sensitive treatment of the subject is testament to the mark it has left on your soul. I know he is pleased with your tribute and extension of his loss as help to those struggling. Peace, Mary


  4. Mary, Every day I mourn Tommy, sitting by the kitchen window, sipping my early morning coffee. I imagine that his spirit comes to me on the wing of birds. I try to commune with the souls of my loved ones, Susie Marie, Peter, and my paraents. But Tom’s death wieghs the heaviest in my heart. thank you for keeping the memmory of his presence here on earth alive. I love you, mom


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