Day 169

Nicholas Heiney, a 23 years old English scholar at Oxford University and a keen sailor wrote this poem:

‘I dreamed that we were plagued by glassy Seas

And that the ship was rotting from a sun-induced disease

The timbers tore away my crewmates’ flesh

And gaping rusty holes were edged with blood.

As days wore on the crew began to feel resentment towards me,

For they did think that I, alone unhurt

Was the sole cause of all the torment which they had to face.’

He ended his own life as he gave in to severe depression in June 2006.

‘Obviously, losing a child is totally different, but it’s happened to a lot of people. You’re not special,’ says Libby Purves, his mother. ‘There is no solution to grief. Somebody had a metaphor for bereavement. You go through a long tunnel, sometimes very narrow and dark, sometimes broad with glass roofs, but you’re still in it, you’re always going to be in it, because it happened.’

3 years later she refered to the Anglo-Saxon origin of the word accept. ‘It means picking up the thread. You go on weaving your life because you have no choice. I have now had nearly three years without a son. Miseries have happened, happinesses have happened, you go on weaving. There’s nothing else you can do. A great deal of family life is, in fact, memory.’

‘Nicholas would be mortified to think he’d blown his family to pieces. He didn’t, he hasn’t, and he is remembered with great love and honour’

‘For his honour, I will not have him blamed. It was his life. It became impossible to him. Some suicides are spur of the moment but I think what happened to Nicholas was a conclusion of something he’d suffered for a long time. We know he tried not to.’

Love and honour. Nothing else.


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