Saturday, December 20, 2008

Remembering my Baby Boy

Last night, my baby boy died unexpectedly. Pepe Francois was the joy of my life. He was only five years old. So young, so full of life, energy, curiosity and love. At the same time he suffered from nerves. A stereotypical, skittish and "scaredy cat", he always hid from strangers. But he knew I was his mother. He knew I loved him and he trusted me. The trust and unconditional love of an animal, a pet is greater than any love.

One day he is happy, healthy and playful, two days later he develops angel's wings and is in cat heaven. Pepe Francois died of unknown causes (although we suspect a heart attack). The pain hurts so much, that a good friend, Adrienne, recommended I remember my baby boy by blogging. What a wonderful idea. I want to remember every habit, sound, feel, experience, and other memories. Blogging is an online journal. Blogging is part of my grieving process.

So where to start? They say dogs think they're humans and cat think they're gods. Perhaps. But Pepe Francois did greet me at the door everyday just like my dog. While he did not lick my face, he approached me with a gentle rub, seeking affection. But I was the one in love.

Mon Cherie & Pepe Francois (as kitten) in May 2003

Pepe Francoise loved to tuck away and hide in small spaces--in my shoe closet inbetween my Jimmy Choos, on the kitchen shelf next to Rachel Ray and in the Christmas tree among the other ornaments. How I miss my roaming adornment.

Pepe Francois, the bird watcher. In my glass enclosed balcony, he would wag his tail and jump mid-air to swat at the birds that flew by outside. Sadly, in my second condo, there were less trees outside the window, which meant less birds. Thanks to feathers on sticks, I waved the plume wand and the excitement and exercise commenced all over again, despite my feeble attempts at whistling like a bird.

Pepe followed in my footsteps in Marketing--as Campaign Manager and he loved boxes. No matter how big or small the box, he somehow managed to fit inside. I recall in December 2003 when he was 9 months old, how he nestled in a Kinkos 8.5 x 11" copy paper box while I was working hard campaigning for my condominium board of directors. Paper, binders, envelopes, campaign documents piled everywhere. Pepe was supervising. Yes even cats get tired on the campaign trail...

Pepe Francois, a food connoisseur. Years later my mom came to live with us. Weekdays, Pepe Francois and Jean Pierre stood in formation outside Mama Liz's (that was her grandmotherly name) bedroom door, patiently waiting for their breakfast server. The minute my mother opened her door (my mother woke up before I did weekdays), the boys turned and ran to their eating bowls and meowed with delight. It was feeding time.

Pepe Francois was no Pepe LePew. Unlike his brother who only used one litter box, clean or not, Pepe Francoise would only urinate in a clean "station". Whether it was his plant covered round litter box, Jean Pierre's litter box or Mon Cherie's wee wee pad, or my white tub, Pepe Francois was instinctively clean and only made his "deposits" in a flushed or untouched spot. Cats are very smart, and Pepe Francois won accolades for Monsieur Clean.

Pepe Francois, more handsome than Elvis. Recently, in the past month, we developed a new routine. Each time I took my dog outside, I would brush her hair (Mon Cherie is a maltese and therefore her layered coat requires regular hair brushing), he would stroll in and give me that look. He wanted his hair combed. Immediately he would start purring and getting frisky. He was inlove with the comb and showed his great affection by releasing clouds of his hair. It did not matter if I combed his hair for five lingering minutes or perform a "quickie" minute comb down so I was not late for work, he was content. Never a complaint. He was happy with what he received, no matter how much or how little.

Candidly, my tears have stopped while I remember every detail about my baby boy and type away on my laptop with my dog cuddled next to me and my other cat nestled between my legs. But my heart is heavy. When will this pain ease? Maybe if I keep blogging without stopping, without sleeping, maybe one day the pain will go away...


Lorena said...

Pepe was an opera white and with a beautiful combination of blue and green eyes. Prima, keep the good memories and comfort yourself with them when you start to feel sad and remember that you have a new angel.

Tia Carmita said...

Hola Cristita:

Siento mucha pena lo de tu gatito,sobre todo porque era el que más ternura me daba, si era un lindo gato, muy especial física y temperalmente, créeme me da tristeza, que pasó?

Què te puedo decir,... que te alegres que le diste una buena vida, tuvo la oportunidad de vivir con cuidados, companía y se sentía muy querido sobre todo por ti que le libraste de no sabemos cual hubiera sido su vida así que siéntete alegre de haberle protegido, y recibiste de él su calor y fidelidad, vivió bien lo que tenía que vivir.Es posible que haya tenido algún problema congénito que de súbito aparece como un aneurisma, igual que las personas que desconocen su existencia hasta que se presenta demasiado tarse, así que mejor confórmate como haberle querido como lo hiciste, tienes sus fotos para consolarte. Un fuerte y cariñoso abrazo, Te quiero.

Leslie said...

Adrienne let us know that one of your "babies" passed away yesterday. I'm so sorry. As a former "mom" of dogs and cats, I know how emotionally heartbreaking this can be. Feel better soon and please accept my condolences.

Sandra said...

Christine: We were informed that one of your children passed away unexpectedly. I am so sorry. Having been a pet owner in the past I know how much it hurts. I still wish for the holidays to keep your spirits up.

I'm next door if you need anything.
Very sincerely,


We'll miss you tonight.

Adrienne said...

Wow. I cried reading it. What a beautiful tribute. Wonderful stories and photos.

DA said...

Hi Christine - Sorry to hear about your pet. I have friends who have lost pets that are very dear to them. It is hard. If you need support and want to be with friends - come join us tonight. The book club is there for you always.

Marte said...

Christine - you already know you're in my thoughts - and that I believe your angel is right there beside you, right now. You have only to watch for him...

Pepe was not a pet - he was part of your family, and he always will be.

Remember happy times...and give thanks that he enriched your life.


Daisy said...

Christine, I'm sorry that Pepe is no longer with you in the way he has been. My dear dog Jessie died this year at age 16. There is always a place in our hearts where these dear creatures lived and which no one else can fill. I do believe that love never dies, and that those we love and those who love us, are always present with us in some way.

Barbara, writing for Daisy

low cost cremation pittsburgh said...

what an adorable pet you have, i love it. i do have a pet before and it died because of car accident..its very painful