My sister is not a statistic

Statistics. So cold and harsh. So black and white. Or so it seems for most of the time. Figures are just that, bland numbers that do not touch us directly, relating to the inanimate rather than the animate.

But statistics of deaths are another matter.

As day in, day out, the news networks report on the tally for today’s dead from the virus, we are in danger of becoming immune from what they really mean … each one a precious life.

The tragic daily role-call of death, captured in merely a couple of minutes, has shaken me to the core. It’s as if so many forget that behind each individual number is a person. No longer alive. Mourned by so many, loved ones who could not even be by their side in their last moments.

One lady sought refuge within her grief to pen a poem in memory of her beloved sister. A poem that speaks for all who have lost a family member these months, and alas the months ahead.

A poem that should survive and be a legacy of this cruel time.

Dorothy Duffy wrote the poem in honour of her sister Rose ‘Billy’ Mitchell who died alone in a nursing home in the UK as a result of the virus. Rose and Dorothy are both of Irish descent, living in England.

Dorothy (right) & Rose

Below is Dorothy Duffy’s poem and beneath is a radio interview with her where she reads her work aloud. Do listen and follow the words of the poem for an unforgettable, heartfelt and moving anthem to loss and suffering.

Rose Duffy

My sister is not a statistic

Tomorrow, when the latest Deathometer of Covid is announced
in sonorous tones,
Whilst all the bodies still mount and curl towards the middle of the curve
Heaped one atop and alongside the other
My sister will be among those numbers, among the throwaway lines
Among the platitudes and lowered eyes,
an older person with underlying health conditions,
A pitiful way to lay rest the bare bones of a life.

My sister is not a statistic 

Her underlying conditions were
Love
Kindness
Belief in the essential goodness of mankind
Uproarious laughter
Forgiveness
Compassion
A storyteller
A survivor
A comforter
A force of nature
And so much more

My sister is not a statistic 

She died without the soft touch of a loved one’s hand
Without the feathered kiss upon her forehead
Without the muted murmur of familiar family voices gathered around her bed,
Without the gentle roar of laughter that comes with memories recalled
Evoked from a time that already seems distant, when we were connected by the simplicity
of touch, of voice, of presence.

My sister is not a statistic 

She was a woman who spanned the seven ages.
A mother
A grandmother
A great grandmother
A sister
A Friend
An aunt
A carer
A giver

My sister is not a statistic

And so, she joins the mounting thousands

They are not statistics on the Deathometer of Covid

They are the wives, mothers, children, fathers, sisters, brothers,
The layers of all our loved ones
If she could, believe me when I say, she would hold every last one of your loved ones, croon
to and comfort them and say – you were loved.
Whilst we who have been left behind mourn deep, keening the loss, the injustice, the rage.
One day we will smile and laugh again, we will remember with joy that, once, we shared a
life, we knew joy and survived sadness.

You are my sister…….. and I love you.

Copyright Dorothy Duffy 2020

Finally, although Dorothy has featured on numerous radio and television/youtube interviews and many of you might have already seen and heard her poem, I am grateful to Roy McCarthy for sharing a post about her poem on his blog Back on the Rock.

150 thoughts on “My sister is not a statistic

  1. Heart wrenching, no one should be allowed to make their transition alone. The rules during this crisis are cruel . It’s been a while since I did my rounds here Annika. So back tracked to where I left off.
    Sending love and well wishes..Sue 💖

    1. Sue, it’s so great to see you back here – you’ve been missed! ❤️ The past six months have been an emotional rollercoaster ride and so much for us all to take on board. The loneliness of passing away without family is horrifying and I’m sure everyone feels the same. Coupled with a lost one just becoming a statistic it must almost be unbearable and totally overwhelming. Dorothy captures it all in her powerful poem. Wishing you well too. love & hugs xx

        1. So true … I just heard from my friend in Lancashire and just on day 2 of being open a random test showed one pupil test positive on random test and the whole bubble of 30 now home for 14 days. Just the beginning … summer has been a lovely lull, I feel.

          1. When you look into the tests themselves… a whole new can of worms opens up Annika… but one has to do our own research … But look up Dr Buttar on YouTube.. A qualified Dr who served as surgeon in USA military… And what he and others whom the msm is not allowing their voice to be heard because they are being censored.. We all of us have the generic material of the cold virus, in us….
            Did you hear of the Leader of an African country who did the tests on fruit… To have it come back as positive???
            Yes my neighbour is so worried about this as they cannot afford any more time quarantined from work… Bills still have to be paid.. Also my Son too…. who was furloughed and may well be made redundant as his pubic bus service to which he drives buses on public transport are not even covering diesel costs in takings.. ❤

            1. Sue, I’m so sorry about your son and really hope it doesn’t come to redundancy. I’ve seen the buses round here driving empty hour after hour, month after month and wondered how they survive. Fingers crossed something sorts for him soon … very worrying time for him and so many others.

              Sue, there are so many aspects to all this, ones I would happily talk over face to face but far too many otherwise for online. In the meantime, the reality on the ground continues for us all.

              Take care and meanwhile I’m listening to my Heart Compass! ❤️

  2. This really captures the Llosa of a unique life and a person in relationships with so many and for each an absence. Hopefully the poem will be well read as a tribute to all those who died and many who had to die alone. On my return I finally meet with one of my oldest and best friends. Her husband died of the virus with complications due to his diabetes. It is hard to understand as he was well and she has lost her closest companion for over 30 years. The poem and the sentiment are so important as now there seems to be… only a few deaths, all one too many and for those affected, grief and a totally changed life.

    1. Georgina, I also hope this poem reaches more readers and becomes a tribute to all those who have died … and even worse, alone without loved ones by the side. It must have been a terrible shock for you to learn about the death of your friend’s husband and cannot imagine how she is feeling, coping. So much grief and even one death from this is one too many. It is not over! Thank you so much for taking the time to read and for your in-depth and heartfelt comment. xx

      1. It was difficult and awful to be so far away while she went through this. It was unreal but real and he was taken too soon. I hope the worst is over but do not trust in the current planning. We need to be more alert than this government.

    1. Dear Hanne, the victims and their families so desperately need a voice … Dorothy’s poem must speak for so many who have lost loved ones during this time and touches us all with her eloquence and directness.

  3. Thanks for sharing this touching poem, Annika! Each person does deserves to be missed and mourned, and it is a crime to simply reduce people to another death statistic. I’m so very sorry for everyone who has lost a loved one to this awful disease.

    1. Ann, your gentle and kind nature shines through your touching comment … it must be heartbreaking for everyone who has lost someone these months. Crime is the perfect way to describe how a person’s life is brushed aside through one figure … tragic beyond understanding.

      Ann, I hope you’re coping okay these months with not only this but so much else touching your life and the lives of your loved ones. hugs xx

  4. Thanks for sharing this poem by Dorothy. Very touching and no one deserves to just be a statistic. Every life matters and everybody is a somebody. It is strange times we live in and looks like this is not going away anytime soon. The least we can do is look out for each other. Hope you are doing alright over there, Annika. Take care.

    1. Mabel, thank you so much for your beautiful and thoughtful comment – I agree with everything you say and yes, the least we can do is look out for each other. It is tragic that in so many cases it has not been possible / allowed to be there with a loved one in their final moments. Beyond heartbreaking.

      Thank you, I am doing okay – feeling it tricky to be inspired to write creatively at the moment but very busy on other projects. I really hope you’re okay and I’m following the news in Melbourne closely. It can’t be easy for you all. Take care and keep safe! xx

      1. So agree it is tricky to be inspired and write creatively right now. Hope you are finding peace and enjoyment in your projects. I’ve been working on other things apart from blogging and writing too. Things aren’t too good in Melbourne but it will get better at some point. You keep safe too, Annika.

  5. Annika, heartfelt thanks for sharing Dorothy Duffy’s tribute to her sister lost to COVID-19. Yes, “we are in danger of becoming immune from what [the daily death toll] really mean … each one a precious life.” Until it touches our own lives.

    1. Rosaliene, I’m very sorry as I was sure I’d answered your comment here last month … I remember it well. Dorothy Duffy’s poem is sadly becoming more important as the days go by and a heartbreaking reminder of the vitality of each person behind a statistic.

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