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Feeling the Rain

On a sunless Baltimore Monday morning, I ran in an almost imperceptible rain that intensified when I was halfway through the distance.  Suddenly, this line from Edna St. Vincent Millay’s “Renascence,” a poem I memorized as a teenager, was circling in my mind:  “For rain it hath a friendly sound to one who’s six feet underground.”  And, yes, six feet under is what I’ve been feeling for weeks—and writing about.

Emails continue to arrive from readers who understand intimately my experience, not only with grief but, also, whether or not to take an antidepressant, issues addressed in “I’d Like to Thank the Academy.”  A woman with name recognition and someone I’ve long admired wrote: “You spoke for me in that piece. Every word. Thank you.”

Some elaborated with messages about finding balance in a world gone mad, reminding me of the bumper sticker: “If You’re not Outraged, You’re Not Paying Attention.”

For example, this:

I think a few tears for the hundreds we kill each week for “the interests of the Nation” makes a lot of sense. I think a few tears for the two thousand americans dead in Pipelinistan … oh, I meant Afghanistan … also makes a lot of sense. I think more than a few tears for those on the block and/or in the family facing foreclosures, jobless, and discarded by their government(s) are unavoidable. I think a few tears for the millions of kids in schools that are reduced to occupational training for burger-flipping can’t be helped. Any study of legitimate history, economics, politics, or sociology should probably involve tears of frustration and a deep and abiding sense of loss.

And from Pat who corresponds, frequently:

Hang on in there. One day you’ll look back on the article you wrote and be amazed you are no longer the same person who wrote it. You have been given an insight into grief, which will allow you to understand and help others going through the same situation for the rest of your life.

So get angry about the marketing of antidepressants, and the FDA handing over its regulatory authority to drug companies.

Insert: I just checked my inbox and found from Pat this information—Big Greed’s   grasp for the global pharmacy business.

I’ve written already about reviewing side effects of SSRIs while the little weapons of medical destruction remained on the kitchen countertop. This week, I’ve continued the investigation, finding that the FDA approves drugs, based on research conducted by—DRUMROLL, please ……….. the pharmaceutical companies.  According to Paul Fassa, in an article published at, the drug corporations “do their own trials and decide which reports to publish and submit.”  And they pay the FDA for approving the drugs.

Big Pharma capitalizes on human suffering, taking advantage of millions who put their trust in a “cure” because a physician writes a prescription and popular magazines and favorite television shows advertise beautiful-people actors smiling and dancing after dosing.  When, for many, life-style changes, like diet and exercise, might reverse a diagnosis.  Or coming to an acceptance that feeling “six feet underground” for brief or long periods of time is a natural reaction to the death of a loved one, even years later.

So, with those words, “six feet underground,” I return to Millay’s “Renascence,” written when she was 18 and inspired by a religious experience from a near drowning that occurred when she was a child.  Even as a teen, I disliked what I perceived as forced rhyming of the last lines, but the majesty of the narrator’s transformation through an immersion in nature is as alluring today as it was to me years ago.  Next time I’m running in the rain, though, I anticipate not an “underground” mood, but, instead, restoration.  And looping through my head, I hope, will be this Langston Hughes’ quote: “Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby.”

Missy Beattie lives in Baltimore, Maryland.  Missy can be reached at:










More articles by:

Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail:

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