This documentary has an interesting beginning. I remember one evening talking to a friend of mine, Lydia, who began to tell me of her sister Sarah who had just been for her 20 week scan in New Delhi, India. She relayed the story to me with a mixture of shock and hope. Having just lost a child at 7 months in utero I was particularly moved by the story and continued to ask Lydia how things were going. I heard of the follow up scans and specialist visits, of the fatal prognosis’ and bits of medical advice that had been given and listened as Lydia touched on some of the struggles the couple were facing as the situation unraveled. I remember getting the text message on the 10th of July to say that Daniel had been born. Two days later I got another text message to say he had died. I can recall thinking how much joy and pain must have been cushioned between those two messages. Losing a child is a very private and unsettling pain and I immediately felt very close to Sarah although I had never met her.
David and Sarah flew the body of their little boy Daniel out from India to South Africa and I attended the funeral. I noticed that someone was filming the funeral and offered then to put something together for the couple. I was thinking that they would have a couple of photographs which I would cut with the funeral to a piece of music; something small that they could remember Daniel by. A few days later Sarah dropped off a hard drive and as I began to look through the footage and piece it together I realized that a story was unfolding. David – mostly – had meticulously recorded most of Daniel’s short life and the footage was incredibly raw and moving. It was at this stage that we began to discuss editing something that went beyond the home video. I had been thinking a lot about lament – as a passionate expression of grief – and its place in our lives and then more broadly in our churches / and or communities. I was particularly interested in the place of lament within the christian faith, and through my own experience, had come to feel that it was a way of finding ‘formfulness in the context of formlessness.’ In an article, ‘The Costly Loss of Lament’ Walter Brueggemann writes –
‘Where lament is absent, covenant comes into being only as a celebration of joy and well-being. Or in political categories, the greater party is surrounded by subjects who are always ‘yes men and women’ from whom ‘never is heard a discouraging word’. Since such a celebrative, consenting silence does not square with reality, covenant minus lament is finally a practice of denial, cover up, and pretense, which sanctions social control.’
In making this film, along with David and Sarah, I have tried as much as possible to tell a story that does not try to make sense of and ‘neaten’ the trauma, but rather one that allows a telling of it honestly.
DVD content & Original Website content Copyright David Seabrook 2012 (c)
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