Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Talking about Daniel by Keren David

A few months ago I was asked to give a speech. One of the things that writing books has given me is that I am not scared of public speaking any more as once you've talked to a group of 200 Year Tens, then  no audience can scare you.
This was slightly different though. This was a speech to be filmed, a 'sort of TED talk' but one which had to contain some sort of 'Jewish Dream, Observation or Vision.'  I almost said no.  I was not sure that I had a Jewish Dream, Observation or Vision, and I am still not sure that I have one now. 
But then I realised what I had to talk about and I knew I couldn't refuse. I wanted to give the talk that might have helped me nineteen years ago this week, when my son Daniel was stillborn. I wanted to talk about all the positive things that have been his legacy. I hoped that our experience would give some sort of comfort to other parents struggling with a more recent loss. My talk has Jewish content, but the themes and experiences are universal. It was, quite honestly, an absolute joy to have a chance to talk about Daniel. I don't do it very often any more. 
Writing has been a great part of his legacy. Other bereaved parents run marathons or fund-raise, I write books.And writing books, and seeing them go out into the world has been an immense comfort, therapy if you like, which helps me feel that an unexplained and untimely death was not completely without meaning.
This is the video of my speech. It is ten minutes long. Don't feel that you have to watch it, but it would be nice if you could share it  should you ever meet someone who is feeling that utter grim despair that is so easy to sink into when a baby dies. I felt like that for many years. It is a small miracle that I was able to pull myself out of it, and that is due in no small part to writing my books. 
I'm not the only children's writer to have suffered this kind of loss. We are  -  quietly -  "sisters in sorrow". Our  books go out into the world and let us take a part in parenting children we will never meet, and that is a wonderful memorial to our own children that we scarcely knew but love so much. 


Hilary Hawkes said...

Keren, that is such a beautiful speech. Honest and sensitive it will surely inspire and comfort others. I love that "Isaiah needed an editor"! And what an honour that your book is the most stolen in two separate youth offenders' libraries!

Sue Purkiss said...

What a moving post - will listen to your speech.

Keren David said...

Thank you!

Lynne Benton said...

Wonderful, moving speech - thank you, Keren.

tracy alexander said...

I have just listened to your speech. I am supporting a friend who has lost a child and am buoyed by your words. My friend cannot see a way forward, but you are proof that there is hope.