Architect Dominic Stephenson was the first Scot known to have died in the Boxing Day tsunami of 2004.
In Let Not the Waves of the Sea his brother Simon embarked on a heartbreaking journey back to the scene of his brother’s death and recorded the journey in this book.
With no guarantees there would not be tears, Stephenson read an emotional passage from the book, recalling when it first hit him how strangers to him from his brother’s circle felt about their loss. “He was their brother too,” he said, “and it took a long time to sink in.”
The audience was silent for this one, as Stephenson’s reading and portrayal of the day the news came through, to when the task came to retrieve Dominic’s body back to the UK, provoked many lumpy throats and damp eyes.
There were light hearted moments also, providing relief to an audience so on the verge of emotional display, that I’ve not seen since the year Candia McWilliam told her audience she had undergone an operation and parts of her eyesight had returned.
Stephenson was keen to impart the positive and unseen impact that then British Prime Minister Gordon Brown had on his family. They were invited to a reception at Downing Street, but it was on the anniversary of Dominic’s death when a 4-page, hand written letter arrived from Downing Street did it hit home just how kind the PM was. Stephenson felt it important people knew about this side of the man.
Clearly a difficult book to write and no doubt a difficult one to read, Let Not the Waves of the Sea is now firmly on my reading list.