This is one of the saddest days of my life. I talk of unsung heroes a lot of the time sometimes naming them, sometimes choosing not to. But I’m a single gal without a partner and I’ve never wanted children. But for the last 13, almost 14 years I’ve been the proud and happy owner of Chyna. A neurotic and smart tabby who was the runt of her litter. I’ve always been a cat person as opposed to a dog person. And now, as I grieve tremendously for her, it’s important for me to honor the animal that I actually reluctantly took into my home over a decade ago.
She was so tiny that she fit in the palm of one hand. We suspected wasn’t fully weaned but she was, not in the entire time Missy and I had her a burden in any sense of the word. When she was little she would climb into bed with me and sleep on my chest. She passed away Saturday, August 30th, 2014.
She leaves behind an owner that owes her tremendously for being not just a pet, but as a friend and therapeutic animal she was a key component of my journey back from the bipolar breakdown.
Chyna came into my life in early July of 2001. As Missy and I left that month to see Maurice Benard and give him our screenplay You’re the Reason, yes, the script that recently won an honorable mention award and Indie Gathering is that is an adult in age.
I was so fragile at the time struggling to heal mind, body, and soul. Attending group therapy, seeing a psychiatric nurse, and a psychiatrist. My dreams seemed so far out of reach. Yet every day I sat at the computer writing. Hoping one day to become a bestseller, an award winner, a filmmaker and everything else ever dreamed.
One nurse told me I was being grandiose in my aspirations. And while that is a symptom of my disease I was serious about becoming a writer and filmmaker. It destroyed me that someone who was supposed be helping me get better seemed to be circumventing the very thing that made me hang in there for so long.
Yet Chyna, as my pet and therapeutic companion was like my silent cheerleader. She loved me and I loved her. And animals don’t judge. Chyna was neurotic as hell to the point being feral. But she always snuggled with me at night, especially in winter time when it would get cold in the apartment. And when she was little she curl up on my shoulder and keep me company. When I moved into my mother’s and father’s she stayed in the room with me and took to draping herself around my neck.
I should have something was wrong with my baby when she stopped coming to me at night, perching up high and her food seemed to never empty. I remarked to my now on vacation best friend that I felt Chyna wouldn’t make it until she got home from Florida. Saying it is one thing. Having it happen the very next day was something altogether.
I was caught out in the middle of a severe thunderstorm, a treat I would have well passed up on just to have her here again. You always think you have time. But nothing is a guarantee.
She watched me go from a shattered human being to a thriving one under her watchful eye. She watched as I went from a very sick and fragile human being daydreaming about life, to one who is now watching the fruits of her labor come in.
She watched me graduate from therapy. It’s been a rough few days. I said her name in place of one of the other cats and started crying again today.
It’s hard at night because I’m so used to her coming to me for love and attention. And I just used to her presence in my life. I know it sounds weird that I miss her and have struggled more with the loss of her than my own grandmother, (I miss her too, but I got to say goodbye to her before she passed on.) With Chyna she couldn’t wait for me. Perhaps she knew how devastated I would be and quietly went so that I would suffer less.
I hope she knows just how much she was loved and appreciated by me. And that she will always hold a special place in my heart.
Dad placed her in a box and waited for me to get home. I pet her one last time and cried. I cry even now as I am the classic cat lady and she was my mascot. Then dad buried her under the tree in the back yard. I wave to her every morning as I set up to work and drink coffee to start my day. I know it’s a little wacky.
But I still miss her and the loss of her in my life is still raw and fresh.
If you have pets shower them with insane amounts of love and affection. They deserve it because that’s what they give to us and that’s what Chyna gave to me. She will always be missed.