Monday, 24 December 2012

Seven Months, One Week: 25 for the 25th

Catmus cat also finds today a success.
Catmus cat also finds today a success.
                                                  Calista Jasmine Fleming, Christmas Day 2011.
 This world is such a peculiar place. Here in Powell River, on a clear winter morning, as the sun just peeks over the Eastern mountains and lights fire to the fresh snow on the distant Comox glacier with Courtenay lying below, nestled on the shores of the deep blue Salish Sea, it is easy to forget that death and tragedy never take a holiday here on Earth. The Earth is truly a paradise that we tend to take for granted, but it still has sharp teeth that come out to bite just when we think we are safe and sound. To Roni and I, and unfortunately so many other grieving parents elsewhere, it is now just a paradise-lost. Fortunately the Earth is old and patient and will wait to be found again.

There is some humour and irony in today's journal entry.  Originally it was meant to be  "Calista's Top Ten", a collection of our top ten favourite pictures of our princess.  I spent several nights surveying all the photographs Roni and I have digitally stored on several full flash drives and selected about fifty pictures I really liked.  Then, seated cozily on our leather couch in the living room, where Calista used to camp out long weekends watching entire seasons (or several seasons in some cases) of  popular network television shows, Roni and I winnowed out the chaff slowly to leave the few shining kernels of grain. Each edit was heart wrenching, as if we were denying our Calista, something we never really could do when she was alive. We finally came down to 25 photos that we both agreed were nearly perfect; beyond that point we could not go. Finally,with a smile on my face, I found a compromise. I changed the name of the journal entry to "25 for the 25th". It has a sweet ring to it, doesn't it?

Today, in honour of Christmas and the promise of hope it holds, I turn my back on the darkness and see only the light and love that was my Calista.  Enjoy.

You know she was probably laughing at
Roni and I rather than with us, but nevertheless
she was laughing. She laughed at the world.

Sure, she probably was just passing gas, but damn she makes
it look fun.
You would think that orange would become her favourite colour,
but really it was just the hot, new colour for the spring of '92.

Her first introduction to the lazy-boy lifestyle.
And check out that fashionable "Please Mom"
ensemble. Durable and versatile enough
to last until she was three.

Try to keep a smile on your face as you pass
through life. If nothing else, it allows you to
get away with a whole lot of hell raising.

 Stay balanced in your life: find a career that you have fun
working at rather than a career that you work at so you can have fun.
Travel. See this beautiful world. Don't wait until it is easy or convenient. Just go. Go now when you are young enough
and tough enough you can do it on the cheap. It won't get easier as the chains of adulthood anchor you down.

Create your own image,
regardless of what society
tells you you "should be".

And then recreate your image as often as
you see fit. Never be limited by the views and
opinions of others.

Surround yourself with friends. No one ever died complaining
of having too many friends.

Have one great love. Have many great loves.
Never stop falling in love. Try to stay in love always.

Embrace Change. Embrace adventure. Just embrace life.

Always really smile; everyone can spot the fake
smile. Just remember that dogs think you are
bearing your teeth.
Get educated, but remember that there are all sorts of ways to learn.
Sometimes you need to look outside the box to find the treasure.
Smile? Hell, Laugh. Laugh loud,
laugh long, laugh frequently.
Make direct eye contact when you are making a sincere point.
Just remember that dogs and some people take this as a challenge.
Dress with your own sense of fashion
and flair. If you feel good in your own clothes
then everything is good.
Art is in the eye of the beholder. Jack Cowin tells us that if
the work holds our attention longer than we are comfortable, then
the art is good. Even if it is just graffiti.
Sometimes you have to let yourself be bigger than
life, even if it means becoming a comic-book
Take care of your body and be proud of it.
Its the only one you get this time around.
Stay focused and observant of the world around you. There is a huge difference between just seeing things and
actually perceiving reality.

Sometimes you need to just sit back
and detatch yourself from life, catch your
breath and cold your ass is.

And sometimes you need to just stop taking yourself so darn
seriously because your ass is still cold, but now its wet.
And sometimes you will just have to turn away and move
on to other adventures. Say goodbye every time you leave
your friends and family like you really mean it. Sometimes
you will have to leave without a chance to say farewell.
I deem Catmus a success!
I deem Catmas a success!!
Calista Jasmine Fleming, Catmas 2011.
We wish everybody who sees this journal entry a wonderful Christmas holiday regardless of why you personally celebrate this time of year. Treasure your family and enjoy your friends.  Take the time to really live your life absolutely because in the end the only thing of real value that any of us has is time. Roni and I would give anything for just a little more time with Calista, but we appreciate that the time we did have with that girl was the absolute best time of our life. 

And yes I know there is actually 26 Calista pictures here.  We just could not limit ourselves to 25. We were weak.


  1. Beautiful girl, beautiful sentiments. Wishing you both the moment when you find that Calista is all the fullness of time, it comes to even the most despairing heart and to all, no matter what they think or believe. No one this beautiful simply disappears.

  2. What a beautiful girl; and what a beautiful summary of the wisdom she gave you in her abbreviated life. In North America we think of average lifespan as a certainty. You are reminding us that is not so, and to act accordingly. Thank you. I wish you peace.

  3. There will never be a lot of peace for my wife and I; we will live in our memories. My only hope is that I can allow Calista to speak and be remembered from the beyond by passing on those memories to everyone that knew her or wish they had. Our greatest tragedy, I hope, will become a beacon to everyone willing to listen: live every moment to the fullest, enjoy every friend absolutely and keep in mind that right now, this very moment, is the only thing of value that any of us really has.

  4. have done a good job in giving even strangers (I did meet Calista in your office) a place in their hearts for your daughter and of knowing just how precarious life is at any moment. Having been estranged from my son for six years and listening every night to ever car passing, hoping it wasn't a police car, I knew that secret fear of losing your only child. Fortunately, we have reconnected and he is doing well, but those were 6 long years. I always had hope. This has been taken from you. I knew the fear but not the reality of facing that fear but I can understand from my heart where you are. It is the worse possible place to be, it is NOT fair, it simply does not make any sense and subtracts meaning from one's whole life. Your memories are so important; it is now the narrative of your daughter's life, one that she can no longer live for herself....but when you think of Calista, please send her light and matter what. You two are such loving parents and somewhere inside the pain, you always will be. It is too new, too hard right now and it will be for as long as you need...but someday, and I don't know why, I feel Calista has already given you something for you to yet discover.

  5. I have been reading your blog for a few months now. I am so very sorry for your loss. I can't even imagine. I love the photo memories posted here. I have also been reading another blog by Anna See. "An Inch of Gray": Her son drowned just over a year ago. It might be helpful for you to connect.

  6. Thank you for sharing Calista through these beautiful photos. She is vibrant and beautiful. I am so sorry that we have the loss of our children in common. Sending a huge hug from VA.