About this blog

My only daughter's name is Clea. Clea was six years and nine months old and she was enjoying a family holiday in Samoa when the ocean surged as a wall, ten metres high, and drowned her. Many other people died that morning of 29 September 2009.
The other four members of her family survived the tsunami.
Life has never been the same since. It will never be the same. This blog features memories, reflections, poetry, etc...
Just let me stay with her under this moon,
hold her in my arms, spin her in the air,
with my dear daughter in some timeless swoon.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

The Little Artist

Clea Salavert, Mother and Daughter Sitting on a Rock (scanned copy of lost original, circa 2006)

It is just a drawing by a three-year old. There is nothing special about it, except that when I first saw it and I asked Clea what it was, the explanation she gave made a lot of sense to me. Once we grow older, we cannot see the world through the eyes of child anymore, so when — or if — we come across a representation of the world as a child sees it, and we are somehow able to trace the interpretation they have made of the world around them, I feel it is a nice surprise.

Of course, at the time I never thought I would end up treasuring this picture the way I do now. It somehow became stuck to the fridge door and stayed there for many years. It is still there, reminding us daily of the little artist she could have been when we fetch the milk for breakfast. The original, of course, was destroyed: it ended up in the recycling bin, like all the many other drawings Clea would make in her early years. I guess I should be glad that one day I took it to work and scanned it. I used Photoshop to add the title Clea had given it, and her name.

It was really meant to be kind of a joke: I would hang her masterpiece on the wall and admire it with a feigned critical eye, making teasing comments such as ‘the evident masterful combination of light, shade and colour’, or ‘the expert control of the line where the absence of light would make it invisible’; nonsense of that kind she giggled to. Now, I cannot remember exactly when she made it, but you might wish to consider that this is one of the few ways of escape we, the grieving parents, have at our disposal: to fictionalise their past, since we have not been given the chance to create a record of their future.

Clea enjoyed all make-believe games. She loved impersonations, and in her rather original games she loved to pretend she was someone else. I wish I were someone else, too, so I could fictionalise a present and a future that did not include her absence as the overwhelming feature.


  1. What joy you had with Clea. It's so painful that it's now a memory and not a continuing adventure.

    Your writing is very poignant.

    1. Thank you. If my writing manages to mean something to others, it's a good thing. You would not believe the weird, cowardly silence my writing seems to have engendered in many.

    2. People don't like the discomfort of real pain and loss and longing that can never be satisfied. It is more than they can comprehend.

      I know that I still cannot grasp the idea that I will never see my son again...that he will never do all the things that he worked towards...or have the life that he deserved.

      It's like being ripped away from Earth and deposited on a planet where nothing makes sense, I don't know the language, and I just don't belong. I know I will never be able to return home again.

      Parents who have lost a son or daughter will completely understand your writing, it resonates in our hearts. Your love for Clea is so strong and so much a part of you, that the loss is all encompassing.

  2. We love reading what you write Jorge. It is a precious legacy to your beautiful daughter. xo Nat and Ray

    1. Thank you Nat and Ray. You have also written something truly beautiful and meaningful. I broke into tears when I read it, for Clea, but also for Laura. She's so strong!


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