Tuesday, 22 May 2012

5 Days and 5 Hours: Parts of Calista

Yesterday was a very good day for the most part. Jesse, Hanna, Amanda and Kareen, my daughter's four closest college friends visited for nearly four hours. We cried a little and laughed a lot exchanging stories about Calista. Kareen filled in some blanks for me about Calista's last few hours and that was strangely healing. The wave did not catch me until late last night, but when it did it crested high and hard, leaving my wife and I sobbing in the middle of my daughter's bed. We have slept there every night since she left us.

Kareen was wonderful. She told me that my daughter arrived at the bar-b-cue early (Calista was always early to everything) with a "four-pack" of "Woody's Sasparilla" in hand.  Nobody knows if she actually drank all four; it would be highly unlikely since I had never seen my daughter down more than two in an evening. She ate dinner (my girl actually ate salmon; good for her) and played Bocci ball. She was so excited when she actually scored a point that she saw fit to call Jesse mid-game to boast. She was in her glory. 

At about 11 pm, things were winding down and Kareen, ever the mother-hen, thought that Calista should bunk out for the night, and Calista agreed. Maybe she had just a bit too much to drink to be a safe and legal driver. Calista changed into a borrowed loose T-shirt. I am not so sure how loose it could be: Kareen is tiny and, though I love my girl dearly, I must admit nobody would ever call her petite. Amazon would be a more accurate description. Calista removed her contact lenses (this is an important key here) and joked that she might mistake her water glass for her contact solution if she was thirsty in the night.

Calista spent the next few hours just talking with Kevin, exchanging stories about growing up, one on the coast, the other in the prairies, getting to know each other. As far as everyone knows the relationship was platonic, but I could care less either way now. Calista mentioned she felt ill sometime in the early morning hours and actually had to run for the toilette. Maybe she HAD drank a wee bit more than she should have. Kevin was worried about her and asked if he could stay by her side to watch over her. She agreed and I believe they both fell asleep peacefully.

At 6 am Calista's phone alarm sounded and, now I hear, she actually got up and was apparently normal. She complained bitterly about it being too early to get up. That was my girl; she always was grumpy waking up, even when she was a wee baby). Now, here is where it gets interesting. Until now I was worried about why she had asked anyone to go through her purse to get some Advil. Asking for help is something my girl just never did, no matter how much trouble she was in.

Now I know why: she did not have her contacts in and without glasses or contacts my girl was as blind as the proverbial monkey ("see no evil"). She was not incapacitated when she awoke; she just could not see to help herself.  Kevin gave her the bottle of Advil and continued on taking care of himself. He has no idea if she took the Advil, but the next time he looked she had collapsed. He thought she may have choked on the pills and tried to help her. He put her in a recovery position after checking her respirations and scrambled for help.  Calls to 911, police and ambulance arrive, and all of a sudden we have a potential crime scene established.

The poor boy spent the next few hours being interogated by the RCMP. 

I see all sides of this story; everyone did what they needed to do. I will always consider Kevin, Kareen, and her mother personal heroes. They did everything they could to save my Calista and I will always treasure the fact she was with caring friends at the end.

I spent this morning dealing with the obituary. What a horrible process. How does one encapsulate a loved-one's life and convey how badly they will be missed in one simple paragraph? Anything I could say would be trite and incomplete.  It's no wonder that all obituary entries are the same.  My daughter deserves better than bland and generic and yet that is all I could give her in a few published words.

Todays entry is all about my girl. I am ready to start remembering the girl I raised. Some parts will be painful, but for the most part it will be a pleasant ride.  I have to go out now to start dealing with the details that death leaves behind, but later today I will start painting Calista's portrait.

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