Why I Wrote Ashes in the Ocean
When I think back on what inspired me to write this book there are several reasons that come to mind but one that rises clear above the rest. I wrote this book to help the younger version of myself, and by extension others who have dealt with the loss of a parent or loved one by suicide.
When I was 17 years old (and in a whirlwind of denial and shame around my father's suicide) I had the opportunity to visit family friends in Perth, Australia. During that trip I had a conversation with a one of my father's closest friends, John David. My father had died 11 years earlier and at that point I hardly spoke about him at all, let alone his suicide. John David's father also died by suicide when he was a boy. A fact that I was unaware of prior to this trip. During our conversation, he shared with me some of the experiences and lessons which he had learned over the years from his father's suicide. When John David shared his experience with me it completely changed my life. For the first time in my life (since my father died) I felt like I wasn't alone. I felt like my past no longer controlled my present and future. One conversation was enough to plant the seeds of change.
I wrote this book because I wanted to offer to others what John David offered me. A space to have a conversation about a difficult topic and an invitation to face one's fears and start on a new path to a lighter and fuller future.
Dad and me at Windansea Beach. La Jolla, California. Circa 1988