24 August 2009

Statistics and how they become meaningless

Last week I had the privilege of spending the weekend with six different families with six different stories to tell. You can tell me everything I want to know about statistics and spin it in many different ways, but here are the statistics of six families. I know that these are the real statistics for them. The statistics of six:

One in three children dies shortly after birth.
Two of two infants die one day apart in two different hospitals though they shared the same mother and the same womb.
One in one child is stillborn.
One in three children dies of a fetal anomaly. (Who came up with that horrible term?)
Two of three children die of cancer, five years apart.
One in three children dies of unknown causes.
One of one father and husband dies of cancer.

The statistics of six. The grief of six mothers and five fathers. The grief of nine siblings left to make sense of the grief that they carry and that of their parents.

It is a large canvas upon which these stories are spun. But their stories carry meaning and the weight of their lives will not be forgotten and so I speak their names out loud and challenge you to do the same. Speak their names and hold their names so that the forgotten are remembered.


Six families--nine deaths. It is a grief that is palpable and living. It is a grief with so much energy and movement that the power these six families have is remarkable.

These are people who understand the real meaning of living and what it means to watch someone die.

Six families and nine deaths. Each of them has given me the gift of insight and understanding. Each of them has taught me something about my own life.

And mostly, I want to thank them for being present, for being honest, for sharing with me a portion of their life and their days. And I want to thank them for their courage, their grace and their courage.

It is an honor and a privilege to have each of them in my life.

"The mention of my child's name may make me cry, but not mentioning my child's name can break my heart. "


Sara said...

I know statistics in this way too, Thank you for sharing these families and their stories.

I'm glad to have found your blog and picked you for Honest Scrap (http://heart-heal-hope.blogspot.com/2009/08/honest-scrap.html)

Kara aka Mother Henna said...

Love you much, Sarah! Wish it wasn't all so real and palpable...wish we all had ALL our kids here... but given things are what they are, I'm so glad to know you, to have found each other, to connect and not feel like such a freak coz we "get" each other :) xoxoxo me