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After three weeks, I am ready to post.

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Autumn, 1998.

I'd never had a cat in my life. In fact, I used to hate cats, because one killed my beloved rabbit Pina, back when I was twelve. Pina was the beloved of the three brothers, of which I am the youngest. On any day, you could walk into the house and regard a sleeping brother on the couch, supposedly watching television, with Pina lying in the chest, fast asleep as well. My God, she was beautiful. My God, she was killed by a stray cat.

So what am I doing driving to another city to pick up a stray cat? I don't know, something along the way in my life snapped me out of hate (maybe it was the one time I did mushrooms?), and here I was on my way to pick up the kitty I urged my then girlfriend (now wife) to help and feed when she was in distress.

I could not believe just how easy she was to love! So elegant and dignified, yet grateful, no ****ing ego whatsoever! And so, my ego dissolved right right in front of her, and just for her.

Her name is Chimay.

One night, late at night, I felt something was wrong at home, nothing deadly, but my presence was needed just the same. I actually explained my hunch to my graveyard shift companions while I was putting the keys in the ignition. When I got home twenty miles away, Chimay was sitting quietly in the porch stairs, waiting for me, with a thorn stuck half an inch into her cheek.

Then she got pregnant, a horrible episode, since she couldn't crap right and dragged her open hind legs on the floor, leaving streaks of **** all over the place. I yelled at her and she looked at me with eyes that said "What do you want me to do?!!"

And then, on April 11, 1999, I went out and got stinking drunk, got home and crashed on the bed. When I woke up the next morning, Chimay was beside me in the middle of a pool of blood, purring in a Sphinx position, while five tiny bodies were exploring my body under the sheets. The payoff, the jackpot, call it what you will. Even as I was dying for something as simple as a glass of water, I dared not move as to not break the magical spell we were living, all seven of us.

I broke my own house rules and went way out of my way to keep Chimay and her children comfy, and in the end, I kept them all! Yuri, Movi, Naima, Chilmoles and Bebita. Chimay suckled them until one night she plopped belly up, purring, and they ignored her, at eighteen weeks. The book said nine weeks is the average, Chimay doubled up.

Two years later, we rescued an abandoned cat, Yeyé. On Day Two of Yeyé’s arrival, I caught Chimay gently teaching Yeyé the ways of living as a cat, with an ambush that was more like a caress.

They got the full vet treatment, the best food we could get, Feliway, etc. I figured Chimay would be with me for at least eighteen years. If lucky, twenty five.

Little by little, one at a time, Movi, Naima and Yuri left, incredibly painful events, but Bebita and Chilmoles stayed with her mother and me, then my girlfriend, who finished college and moved in.

March, 2007

Cue years and years of carefree bliss. Then one day a few weeks ago, Chimay got sick. The vet fixed her breathing, her tummy went wrong. The vet fixed her tummy, her breathing went worse, a downward spiral. Yeah, you guessed it, leukemia. She responded to nothing and disintegrated before our eyes within two weeks.

On her last vet visit, this very good man was gentle in his news while him, my wife and me caresses Chimay: she had hours. But no, he did NOT put my beloved Chimay to sleep, he told us to take her home in her last hours and gave us ten strong doses of Diazepam for the IV.

We got to take Chimay home and give her what she loved most in life: her IKEA sofa in front of the fireplace with Billie Holliday. She was not distressed, she went peacefully, with her children around, of course that includes her human kids (my wife and I).

My wife's sister and her boyfriend arrived to just BE and help.

When Chimay crossed the bridge, we opened a bottle of champagne, toasted and reminisced about her, exchanging stories like disaster survivors. Then we opened a bottle of single-malt scotch, which I ended up finishing by myself, all the while pressing my open palm on Chimay’s body, covered up by a beautiful mexican textured shawl, while listening to the most personal music my collection could attempt to muster (Bob Dylan, Roxy Music (Avalon), Brian Eno (By This River), REM (Murmur), Beatles (Sgt Pepper’s), Beth Orton (Shopping Trolley), Wilco (Airline To Heaven), Van Morrison (Astral Weeks), frequently assaulted by irregular spasms of bottomless grief.

What sense does any roadmap make without my compass? My Chimay?

For a couple of days, my wife and I took vitamin-B complex injections, then took it in pills, as the gel injections are incredibly painfull. Then I started taking lactobacilus acidofilus pills, to replentish the intestinal flora. The best tribute for Chimay is not only to live, but to struggle to live well, with pro-biotics, until it becomes a struggle no more.

My wife and I are trying to boost the nutrition of our remaining cats. We are also creating a memorial park in our desertic front yard, which we’ve taken for granted for the longest time. My wife has about forty plants going, today I just finished a bonfire sculpture connected by a winding twenty-foot stone line to Chimay’s final resting ground, a quartz/granite pyramid. We’ve got a job to do still, we intend to fully fix up the place and do a party for Chimay. To appreciate and keep on living in these spaces we always took for granted.

As a family, expand and enrich spaces we (both) stupid humans always took for granted.

If you’ve made it this far, PLEASE check out my Chimay tribute page:

post #2 of 21
A beautiful tribute to a beautiful girl.
post #3 of 21
RIP Chimay.

She certainly knew how to enrich the lives around her.
post #4 of 21
That's a wonderful tribute. I know Chimay will be missed very much.
post #5 of 21
Bless You and your family. Your post brought tears to my eyes. Chimay was a very special girl that will always be with you in spirit.

RIP Chimay
post #6 of 21
Rest in peace Chimay.

That was a very touching tribute
post #7 of 21
Beautiful tribute.

RIP Chimay
post #8 of 21
RIP Chimay. Be at peace knowing she's whole and healthy at the bridge and always watching over you until you meet again.
post #9 of 21
Beautiful name, beautiful tribute. Chimay is with you - you will feel her and see her and you will know it. I sense my beloved SiSi is with me all the time and she protects me from harm. Chimay will do the same for you and watch you from above.
post #10 of 21
i'm so sorry about your baby. I'm sure that Chimay is happy over the bridge though. I hope she met my little black cat, I'm sure they would have fun together. I hope you and your family are able to cope and continue to go through life everyday. take care of yourselves
post #11 of 21
A beautiful tribute to your lovely Chimay! Rest peacefully, sweetie!
post #12 of 21
I'm so sorry you lost your beloved Chimay. Your words and tribute to her are beautiful.

Know that she is happy and healthy now at the rainbow bridge and someday you will see your beautiful girl again.
post #13 of 21
I realize this might have been posted a while ago. However I'm new to this site and have just read your post. I wanted to let you know how much it touched me. You're a wonderful writer and I was really envisioning Chimay's story...which is your story as well. When you spoke about the music, Murmur, Avalon, Van Morrison....I was there even more. I cried and cried with you about this and want to thank you for sharing this beautiful story. She will come back to you again, it's just a matter of when.

post #14 of 21
This was a beautiful tribute in remembrance of a beautiful girl. Chimay will always be in your hearts and I am sure she is playing with all her friends over the bridge. RIP.
post #15 of 21
What a lovely tribute for a very special girl.
RIP sweet Chimay
post #16 of 21
Thread Starter 
My God, thank you all for your very kind words, they really touched me, and I needed a bit of warmth tonight.

We are gradually recovering, keeping ourselves busy at home by fixing up our memorial garden, and it's coming out beautifully.

After a few weeks, I think I finished Chimay's sculpture tonight! I made a three foot wide circle of granite rocks, then used that base to build an abstract flower of quartz with a tiny crater on top, to place a candle in. I also placed a toy in one of the tiny niches within the cracks, as well as a beautiful dry branch and a tiny leaf on either side of the lit candle.

To get all the quartz I needed, I had to twice drive about an hour's worth, to the top of a steep, isolated hill overlooking a canyon on one side and a vast uninhabited valley with a single lush tree on the other. Quartz all around, and not a human in sight. This, ladies and gentlemen, is Baja, my favorite place in the world, and I wouldn't live anywhere else.

Anyway, back to the garden. From Chimay's quartz flower, a line of several hundred rocks twists and winds through the garden, until reaching a volcano-like rock structure with a large crater, for making bonfires in.

Meanwhile, my wife Tania cleaned out the dead branches and leaves, built some red-brick steps that lead to Chimay's space, bought some comfy garden chairs, and is diligently working on her potted plants, which will be planted soon. We also got a few square meters of lawn grass, to place within the rock perimeter to keep the area cool, green and vibrant.

By tomorrow, if all goes according to plan, we will have installed a garden rock table with four rock benches, as well as four solar garden lights that shift among seven colors.

We need to finish with all this ASAP, as we're throwing a party for Chimay at the end of the month. We've already notified thirty five friends, all of them met Chimay at some point, all of them are aware of what she means for this house, all of them have been very, very cool about it.

My wife plays in a group of mexican folk music known as son jarocho, so we're gonna have some live music and traditional dancing around the bonfire. We're going to have food from the Jalisco region of Mexico, microbrewery keg beer (Tijuana Beer red ale, look it up, it's really good) and wine. No hard liquor, except for one bottle of mezcal from Oaxaca to toast our beloved Chimay.

Then, once the party's over, we get to keep the garden! I'm sure our cats will love rolling around the grass (which we've never had before), or lounging on the garden table, or sitting with a few friends around an intimate bonfire.

As yet another plus, our friends will have enjoyed it, so they'll know to drop by more often, as our house is now much more guest-friendly.

I'm sure Chimay would approve, she always loved to greet visitors, and when sometimes they would spend the night, she would lie and fall asleep by their side. She was a noble and charming hostess.
post #17 of 21
What a wonderful girl Chimay sounds. You were all lucky to have each other

We'd love to see a picture of the sculpture that you've done if you get the chance? And we may not be there in person to celebrate Chimay's life with you all, but we'll be there in spirit

Have fun over at Rainbow Bridge Chimay, and know you were loved so much

post #18 of 21
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Rosiemac View Post
What a wonderful girl Chimay sounds. You were all lucky to have each other

We'd love to see a picture of the sculpture that you've done if you get the chance?
You know, I hadn't even thought about that! I haven't even taken any pictures of it. Asleep at the wheel, I guess. Please give me until next week to do it, I'm pretty busy at the moment, since:
- My wife and I are in the midst of fixing up the garden and organizing the party.
- I screen films every Thursday as part of a voluntary local cultural program. Tonight's show: The Hong Kong cop flick Infernal Affairs! I also take command of the DJ booth once the show is over, so I have to organize my playlist.
- I have to, you know, show up at the office at least once in a while!

Next week: Definitely.

BTW, Rosiemac, thank you for the PM! I see you're from the UK. I don't know what you'll make of this, but on my Thursday screenings, before the main film, I always show a short feature, usually Monty Python episodes. As it turns out, there's a few people here in my mexican hometown who show up religiously for a little nudge nudge, wink wink, know what I mean, know what I mean?, and if I'm not mistaken, tonight's episode features Confuse-A-Cat.

Actually, my hometown has the densest scientist-per-inhabitant ratio in all of Latin America, so we're bound to have more than a few people with a decent command of the english language and a taste for the erudite and absurd.
post #19 of 21
Originally Posted by niktemadur View Post
You know, I hadn't even thought about that! I haven't even taken any pictures of it. Asleep at the wheel, I guess. Please give me until next week to do it
No problem, just when your ready

Thursday evenings sound great at your house
post #20 of 21
Aww, what a beautifful tribute. Chimay was a very special girl. RIP sweet girl.

post #21 of 21
Originally Posted by Rosiemac View Post
And we may not be there in person to celebrate Chimay's life with you all, but we'll be there in spirit
oh gosh, absolutely we will be there!

What a wonderful tribute to Chimay, and what a wonderful garden you are putting together in her honour.... and to think that you once hated cats? It really is amazing how these little mites crawl into your heart and you are never ever the same again.

I am not a religious person but I have no doubt that Chimay is watching over you, your wife and her children... no doubt whatsoever. I also know that you will meet someday, whereever that will.

Until then, fly high sweet Chimay and watch over those that love you so very much
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