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Faith & Spirituality, Grief Journey

The Ocean

“There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more”
~ Lord Byron

My son loved the ocean. He’d go there in the wee hours of the early morning just to watch the sun come up and the tide roll in. I think the roar and crashing of the waves was a white noise that soothed him. He had a few favorite spots, and I visited one again this past weekend.

I climbed down to an outcropping of rocks and sat for a bit before releasing the remainder of his ashes. I can see how the sound of the ocean can be a balm. It was the only thing I could hear, and watching it was almost hypnotic. My mother passed away much too young, but I remember how she always seemed to be the best version of herself at the ocean. I believe it soothed her the same way it soothed my son. They never got to know each other. She passed away the day after his two-year birthday, but I like to think she’s looking after him now, and maybe the two of them are sharing that common bond on some distant shore.

When I think about my son and his love for the ocean, I think about this poem by E.E. Cummings:

“maggie and milly and molly and may
went down to the beach (to play one day)

and maggie discovered a shell that sang
so sweetly she couldn’t remember her troubles, and

milly befriended a stranded star
whose rays five languid fingers were;

and molly was chased by a horrible thing
which raced sideways while blowing bubbles: and

may came home with a smooth round stone
as small as a world and as large as alone.

For whatever we lose (like a you or a me)
it’s always ourselves we find in the sea”

I think that’s how the ocean was for my son. Even the line about the smooth round stone because he carried one around in his pocket every day for comfort and to remind him of one of his favorite places.

About the Author

Maria Sallese

Maria Sallese lost her 26-year-old son to suicide in 2019 and joined the Alliance of Hope forum shortly after. She finds hope and healing through writing and wishes to help others by sharing her words. Maria can be reached at: sallese.maria@gmail.comRead More »