Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Capturing A Short Life

What are you doing tonight at 10 p.m.?

I'd like to suggest that you settle into your couch and watch a moving and life-affirming documentary which was produced and directed by one of my dearest friends Sheona McDonald.

Capturing a Short Life is a film about families dealing with infant loss and it reinforces how important it is to remember and celebrate the lives of children who are on this earth for just a short time. Sheona, herself a mom of two, has broached this subject with astounding grace and sensitivity.

Just a few weeks ago Sheona and her children were at our home helping celebrate Graham's birthday and the subject of the film came up. "It must have been so difficult to make," my mother observed.

But Sheona's answer was not what you would expect.

"It was actually easy in some ways," she said. "Because people are desperate to tell their stories. They want to be acknowledged as parents. As a society we don't know how to talk about the death of a child, so these parents never get a chance to talk about their child's life."

And that's just the kind of sensitivity and perspective that Sheona brings to the film.

"We have, on the whole, desensitized ourselves to violence. Images of war, stories of rape, destruction, murder, child-abuse, etc seem to fill the landscape of our news and media and we have become used to those images," she added in an e-mail to me today.

"We accept them and seem, somehow, to process them. There are no violent, graphic, bloody images in CASL and yet so many are afraid to watch because of the fear of what? The emotion? The fact that this can happen here, to us, our friends, family, neighbors?"

Capturing A Short Life makes its television premiere at 10 p.m. Tuesday, December 9th on CBC Newsworld's Series The Lens. You can also learn more about the film by visiting its web site.

I will be watching (for the second time - I was at a screening last winter) and I hope you will be too.

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30 comments:

JCK said...

I can only imagine how moving this piece is. How wonderful that your friend created this. Something that will resonate with so many people.

flutter said...

ohhhhhh my heart

Parent Club said...

Let us know if it will be on again!

loribeth said...

Delurking to say thank you for bringing this film to the attention of more people, and to your friend Sheona for shining a much-needed spotlight on a difficult subject. I haven't seen the film (yet -- looking forward to it tonight!), but as the mother of a stillborn (with six lousy Polaroids that are nevertheless my most treasured posessions) and a pregnancy loss group volunteer facilitator, this is a subject that is very near & dear to my heart.

Kat said...

Thank you. I'd really like to see it. I'll check out the website.

Vered - MomGrind said...

Well, I have tears in my eyes just reading this post ad seeing the photo. I guess I'll need a box of tissues nearby if I end up watching this movie.

RiverPoet said...

I want to see this. Do you think it will be available for US viewing anytime soon? As you may or may not know, I'm starting a grad program in thanatology (death education/counseling) next month. This is something I'd really love to watch.

Peace - D

Jen said...

Thanks for posting this--I don't know if I could watch (if its on in the US?) without my heart breaking all over again for the children I have lost.

Blessings,

Jen

Abbie said...

Ohhh this is beautiful. Is there any way those of us in the US are able to watch it online anywhere?

1001 Petals said...

I can't think of anything more depressing. I feel awful for the parents who had to go through it, and hopefully sharing is therapeutic for them, but I find it difficult to even watch the news or those commercials with starving children :( Heck, I cried for three days after seeing the movie, "Boys don't Cry." I think this documentary would put me out of commission for weeks.

Motherhood for Dummies said...

I will so have to check it out!

Aunt Becky said...

Hope that you don't mind, but I'm gonna repost something about this, probably linking to you. I have a lot of online friends who have lost babies, who will appreciate this. Thanks for sharing, DMD.

Haley-O said...

Wow. It looks like a fascinating documentary. I'll have to have a box of tissues beside me, no doubt. But, I love what she says about how these parents need to be "acknowledged" as parents. that's really interesting and so key. I have a friend who lost an infant the day he died -- it was "the best and the worst day of her life," she says. She talks about him all the time, though, by name, as if he'd been around for ages. It's beautiful (even as it's all so devastating).

Dawn said...

This sounds like an amazing documentary. I know that's true about parents who have lost a baby wanting to talk about it, to tell their story.

Jaina said...

If I had cable I would totally watch it!

daysgoby said...

I found it! (Hiding on CBC at 12:30 waaay ovah here) but will tape it and watch tomorrow!

Rachel said...

Thank you for acknowledging this painful subject. I found your blog thru Aunt Becky. Even though I have 2 healthy children, I never will forget the 3 little angels waiting for me in heaven.
Thank you for being sensitive to a subject most people won't talk about.

ChristophersHeart said...

It sounds amazing and she's so right. I sadly know too many heart parents whose babies have passed and I know how much they want to share their story and their memories and experience. How wonderful of your friend to have made a film about this.
I myself cannot watch it yet, the memories of watching my Chris being worked on in the ER as he hovered near death are still too raw for me, I was so close to being one of them, I still cry too easily about too many things. But I am making a note for when I am stronger that I must see this film.

Leanne said...

It's 10:02. Let me go and see if I can find it.

Lisa b said...

I had seen the trailer for this on the Sasha Bella Site, the foundation we support at sick kids and I just saw Loribeth's post saying she is a friend of yours.

daysgoby said...

Wow, Kelly, your friend should be so proud of her work! Heart-wrenching and direct without being sappy or morbid - she said just enough and didn't clutter things. Really well done!

kgirl said...

It looked beautiful, but honestly? I watched 3 minutes and bawled for 3 hours. I don't like that kind of tv.

Tracey said...

I will. It validates these children's lives for their parents. Their lives DO have meaning, no matter how briefly they were on this Earth...

Beth said...

I am the older sister of one of those little angels. He would have turned 30 this year. Every day I look at my son, I wonder if he resembles the brother that I never knew. Sometimes I even feel guilty for mourning him, because I don't know enough about him to mourn. Other times I feel guilty for not mourning him because I know he would be such an important part of my life right now. As a parent, I cannot imagine what my own mother went through. And you are right - we never talk about it.
In fact, most of my friends don't even know I had a brother. Thank you for offering a place to share.
~Beth

Texan Mama @ Who Put Me In Charge said...

Wish I could have seen the piece. I don't even have dish or cable, and I'm guessing the signal from Canada doesn't reach to TX.

But, this is an important subject. I lost my niece to SIDS when I was 17. It was only this year that, talking to my mom, she told me how my sister always hated the fact that no one wanted to talk about Claire. SHE wanted to talk about her lost daughter, but everyone else felt uncomfortable. I never wanted to talk about it because I didn't want to make her feel bad. But now that I know how she feels, although it's 19 years later, I feel like we can talk about Claire without me stepping on eggshells.

Magpie said...

That sounds heartbreaking. I'm sorry I missed it.

sho said...

Thank you Kelly, for posting about this for me and for everyone's thoughts and comments.

The show had a really high viewership (which was really surprising and encouraging) and really positive feedback.

I would love to get it shown in the States beyond festivals and conferences, but haven't yet been able to get any broadcasters to bite. When I have time I will start to hit up the local PBS networks.
It's not available on the net because it goes against the broadcast license.

Thanks again,
Sheona

sho said...

Also, as a result of the numbers and feedback it will likely broadcast again sooner than later, Feb or Mar...if you want to encourage this re-broadcast, you can email CBC directly (they are reading and responding) or post on the CBC discussion board at www.cbc.ca/documentaries/discussion

Heather said...

Sounds like a moving documentary.

Kordula said...

Do you know if there will be another screening of this documentary in Toronto this year (2011)?