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Vernon Slovin was a legend—one of the best swimmers in his home country of South Africa, and for a time in the world. He prided himself on being the best—in sports, business, and life.  He had it all, a big home, athletic prestige, fancy clothes and cars, and a beautiful wife and family. Everything was going his way until it all came tumbling down. He lost everything, including his own life. In the wake of his suicide he left his wife and two young children.

In this riveting memoir, Vernon’s son, Sebastian Slovin chronicles his experience of living in the shadow of a suicide, and his journey to uncover why his father took his own life. A pilgrimage that led him around the world and eventually back to himself.

Ashes in the Ocean is a powerful story about facing one’s fears and choosing a different path.

 

Praise for

ASHES IN THE OCEAN

 
“As a career psychotherapist I have worked with the aftermath of suicide too many times, and this book would have made my job much easier. Sebastian Slovin is courageously transparent in describing his process of healing from his father’s suicide. As he so powerfully demonstrates, bottling up his feelings for years was destructive, and only by facing the facts head-on was he able to navigate these difficult waters. Not only is he an excellent storyteller but I would highly recommend his book to anyone who has experienced the suicide of someone close.”

—José Luis Stevens, PhD, Author: Encounters with Power

 

"Ashes in the Ocean is a beautifully written memoir which taps into what it means to live, love, and heal from grief and loss. It is a testament to the power of the human spirit."

—Mimi Guarneri, MD, FACC, President of the Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine
 

"Ashes in the Ocean, the story of the loss of Sebastian Slovin’s father from suicide, will resonate with many in our struggles to trust life and, no matter what, to stand in awe of the amazing world we are part of.”

—James Hubbell, Artist

“Sebastian pens a brutally honest book that exhumes not only the ghosts of his father’s ultimate choice but also his own relationship to suicide and mental health. Slovin considers the most complicated of human behaviorisms on a sectoral plane that transcends his own teenage angst and connects it with everyone who has ever dealt with a flawed legacy. He opens the vein of self-introspection by wondering why his hero left him with more than he could ever consume. But through this riveting memoir we see not only Slovin’s transformation but perhaps a vehicle to understand—and ameliorate—those who are suffering and need the same attention as other serious, life-threatening pathologies.”

—Scott Tinley, PhD, faculty member at SDSU,
Author of Things to Be Survived and other life-transition-related books

Ashes in the Ocean is an eloquent story of a return to wholeness from a place of great darkness. Sebastian Slovin allows us to see not just the devastation of suicide, but the healing that is possible. At the end of his book I recalled a phrase from long ago. ‘Gentle is the way.’ Sebastian is a teacher for that way.”

Ronald Chapman, Author, A Killer’s Grace and My Name Is Wonder

 

 “Suicide is the leading cause of death in the United States. Globally, nearly 1 million people die by suicide each year, and these rates are expected to rise. Sebastian Slovin has written a courageous and moving novel about his firsthand experience of guilt, depression, and trauma associated with losing his father to suicide at a very young age. Slovin narrates his story across three continents as he confronts the stigma, silence, and complicated grief that surrounds his father’s passing. Slovin uniquely reveals his own internal struggles and that of many surviving family members and friends who suffer from unspeakable guilt, shame, grief, depression, PTSD, and suicidal ideation on his journey to health.

“Slovin’s writing is clear, insightful, and accessible to many readers. To be honest, I could not put this book down once I began reading it. His work will inform, support, and inspire others who seek knowledge about suicide and survivorship. I enthusiastically recommend this book to anyone wishing to gain more insight into suicide, including trainees and professionals who provide education, support, and treatment to suicide survivors. Sebastian, thank you for writing this book.”

Ana Estrada, PhD, Associate Professor of Counseling, University of San Diego

 

“Sebastian Slovin writes with the presence of his truth like the feet of the gods falling—thundering their way in from the heavens. I was moved into the depths of my heart within the first few pages, and stayed. If healing our suffering heals this world—these pages and Sebastian’s words are medicine for us all.”

Janne Robinson, Poet