Advent Surprise

Hello Dear Readers,

I am very much enjoying Advent Blessings with my online Irish community at It can be your community too, and might be argued already is. Sounds intriguing, right? Well, check it out! I am writing you as a homework assignment for My homework is to do something everyday that brings light into the world, and my little light will be delivering a letter of the ABC’s of depression every day until Christmas. YAY! What you really wanted right?! Ok so here we go….


O- is for ominous. Depression feels ominous for those predisposed to it. Often depression comes after a particularly peaceful period. Depression can be like a storm on the horizon. You can see it coming but are helpless to do anything about it. When Robin Williams committed suicide, I was about to embark on a ridiculously luxurious vacation. My husband and I were able to convince a yacht charter company in Anacortes Washington to allow our family to take a very large 50 foot million dollar power boat for a two week cruise through the San Juan Islands and Gulf Islands in Canada. Suckers! These islands are a world-famous boating destination known for their pristine beauty.

My mother was coming from Indiana to join us and our two children who were happy to have family time, were healthy and relieved to have a break from school.  The weather forecast predicted the Northwest to have one of the best summers in years. On this perfect trip I slipped into a major depression. It lasted months. All I could think about was that Robin Williams, a man who made so many people happy and seemed to have it all was taken down by depression. I didn’t have a chance.

A poem about suicide:

Maine Stay

The first day of the retreat

I noticed her pomegranate red hair from across the room

I was eating dinner alone and suddenly felt sad

She smiled at me

A beautiful stranger I thought

Days flowed with stories

Of grief and loss

And to restore us

Maps and Paintings of

 Brightly colored birds

Trees starting to turn

Rockport Harbor petunias

Greeting cutters kayaks and cruisers

Golden milk lattes

In the Seafolk Café

And a birthday poem to share

The last day

When silence was lifted

The beautiful stranger and I

Talked about writing

I learned she was from Greece

Her accent echoed of Slavic mountains

Her face bronzed from Mediterranean sun

 “I am writing an abecedarian of depression.” I say

She looked interested

She asked: “How do you choose a word for each letter?”

Her Emerald eyes wide and bright

 “From experience” I shyly mumbled

Swallowed by shame

My eyes pulled down to the the rough gravel below

Made ready by deep searching

Laid bare by revelation

I returned to the conversation

“The hardest letter so far has been “S”

She daringly asked “Why?”




My voice

I stuttered, “S is for suicide”

She looked at me and saw my pain

I felt fires of love burning all around me

Graceful waters rippled

As close as a guardian angel

Bobbing around on color and light

I floated for a second

She smiled and said in a gentle voice

 “I’m glad you stayed”

 “I’m glad I stayed” I mumbled again

Pausing to taste the way the words felt

Questioning if they were true

I said again with a teary eyed smile

 “I’m glad I stayed too”

Everything shaking.

-Angie Alkove 10/19

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