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Death By Drowning: The Unexpected Light At the Bottom of the Dark River

Updated on November 3, 2011


While trying to work through the pain and sorrow of losing one close to me by the way of suicide—all I knew to do was to pray and write—and here is what I wrote. I hope it touches somebody in some way.

Drowing in the Dark River

I am reaching. God, come with me to the depths of the river that flows beneath the

The dark river of tears—that twists and turns and churns around boulders named denial, anger, sadness, and pain. The river races but the banks stand still. Time stands still. I stand on the bank with concrete feet. I gaze at the dark river with expressionless eyes. I do not blink—I cannot swallow. Past, present, and future have no distinction. Black and grey clouds hover nearby as if they intend to threaten me with a sudden storm. I feel heavy and light all at once. So heavy that I cannot move—and so light that I might float off into the dark storm. My steady gaze of stillness is interrupted without warning as the river‘s icy fingers grip my neck and pull me in.

Now my world is rushing and swirling all around me. The inner stillness has erupted into a tumultuous torrent of inner chaos. I can not swim to the river’s edge—I can not float peacefully—but am violently carried along on an unexpected journey to a place I do not wish to explore. Tears escape but I cannot. Loud noises fill the air with screams and groans that cause me to cover my ears—but the sounds only increase. I realize that they are coming from me—from within—and I cannot run away from their source. I am angry at this black river—I do not want to sink in its murky midst. As I struggle against the waves, I think of all the things that for so long consumed my thoughts. They mean nothing to me in this dark place. The things I worried about—the things I hoped for—the things I spent my time talking about and doing and striving to achieve—they don’t offer safety or security or smiles or shelter in this wet wonderland of woe.

I call out the only name that I know can save me.

Jesus Christ!” I scream. Something grabs a hold of my foot and pulls me beneath the waves. I struggle and fight. My head emerges from the water and I gasp for air. “Jesus—help me!” I yell with all my might. Again, I feel something grab my foot—and then my other foot—and I am submerged into the darkness once again. Deeper and deeper and deeper I sink. The pressure of the depths of the darkness press in all around me. I can only hold my breath for a short time longer. I am dizzy and soon the darkness around me seeps in, as my consciousness begins to slip away. Against my will, my mouth is forced open and I long for air but know that none is available. I inhale water and gurgle in disbelief—my very life being choked from my lungs. I cannot hear the rapids roaring above my head anymore—my energy to struggle is gone—and silence and stillness trickles into my awareness. My last sensation is that the hands that grabbed my feet and pulled me down, gently touch my cheeks.

Arising into the Light River

I awake on the bank of a river. The water is crystal clear. The air is filled with the fresh scent of a clean breeze after a Spring rain. The blue sky is crisp and clear. The sun shines brightly and warms me with its touch. Peace and joy overflow from the inside out and I am startled by the sound of laughter. I look around but see nobody there. The laughter grows in intensity. I begin to shake and then realize that the laughter is coming from me. I feel both heavy and light. So heavy that I feel like a firmly-planted tree whose roots can never be uprooted—like no wind could ever knock me down. Yet so light that I feel as if I could float off into the sun and become one with it. There is no awareness of time. I step into the river and a sensation of complete ecstasy overcomes me. Feelings and thoughts and sensations of pure pleasure overcome my entire being. I lay down in the water and float along its gentle waves. The river’s warm hands massage my back and cradle my head. I call out in excitement, with a burst of energy, “Jesus!” My cheeks tingle and at once His hands are upon my face—His transparent, blue eyes, staring intently and lovingly into mine. I recognize the touch of his hands and know at once that the hands upon my face were the very same that grasped my feet in the dark river.

And then, with the tone of a melodious song, He spoke to me.

“I love you too much to leave you in the land of the dark river. As soon as I heard your voice call out to me, I grabbed a hold of you and pulled you from death into eternal life. To be with me—you had to go where I went. You had to die to death so that you could live in life. Now that you have passed though death with me, it no longer has any hold over you. You will never have to go back to its dreary shores or be tormented by its icy waters. You may dwell in paradise with me forever more and drink from the waters of eternal life.”

“Did I die?” I thought to myself.

He answered:

“You are still on this Earth—it is not yet your time to come home. But in Spirit you have both died and been resurrected with me. Your flesh lives, but you have died to your flesh. Sin is still fighting against you, but you have died to sin. Pain and sorrow still tug at your heart, but you have died to its hold over you. Even death, itself, has been put to death. When I died for your sins on the cross and resurrected, the works on the devil-the power of sin was conquered. You walk among the men of earth, but your citizenship is in heaven. Life is found in me—and you shall dwell with me all of your days. You have found life eternal because you have found me. And when all earthly things pass away, as they must and they shall, you shall remain because your Spirit has found its home in me and my Kingdom shall never be shaken.”

An Invitation

My plea to you is that you will find good through the bad—and hope from despair.  Let yourself die to the things of this world—to the desires of the flesh, to sin, and to the works of the devil.  Jesus said that in order to find life, you must lose it.  I’m not talking literally here—but think about those things which are temporal and those which are eternal.  How we spend our time—what we think about—what we call important and necessary and good—will those things last forever?  Your car and your clothes—your popularity and good looks—your dream job and your dream house—none of those things will pass with you into eternity.  If you have not yet made a decision to know Christ—I urge you call out to Him and ask Him to show you who He is—to ask Him for forgiveness for your sins—to take the gift of eternal life that He wants to offer to you.  The Bible—His Word—is living and active.  Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you through it.  We have all sinned and not one person can stand righteous before God.  But He loved us SO much that He paid the price for our sins and took our punishment and offers to us, instead, a new life with Him forever.  That life does not start when we pass from this life to the next—it starts now.  There is a mission to be accomplished here on this Earth.  Let us fix our eyes on what is truly important and contribute to the building of a kingdom that is built on unconditional love that can never be destroyed.


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    • Seek-n-Find profile imageAUTHOR

      Jenna Ditsch 

      6 years ago from Illinois

      @Trsmd: Yes! He doesn't have all of the solutions--He is the solution. I've found that to be very real in my life. Thanks so much for your comment! :-)

    • Trsmd profile image


      6 years ago from India

      When you are facing any problem, and you remember and call Jesus, all your problem will be solved . Thanks for SHARING:)

    • Seek-n-Find profile imageAUTHOR

      Jenna Ditsch 

      7 years ago from Illinois

      Thanks again, lifegate! I wrote this after somebody I really cared about committed suicide. This was an attempt to imagine how God might help us through the pain of loss and to realize what is important. I shared it with other young teens in hopes that they would find Christ on the other side of the murky river.

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 

      7 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA


      Beautifully and tastefully done. My prayer is that many might come to Christ through your writings. Thanks for sharing.


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