Thank you all so much for your kind words about my sweet kitty, Chyna. I'm so glad to know and there are so many tenderhearted people reading my little ol' blog who feel the same way I do, that our beloved critters are friends, and more than that, they are family. You bless me with your kindness and I thank you most sincerely.
Do you know about Dia de los Muertos? Day of the Dead? Even if you don't, I'm sure you've seen the most commonly associated image, the sugar skulls. Dia de los Muertos is a holiday that focuses on prayers & remembrance of friends and family who have died. The celebration begins on October 31st and ends on November 2nd, and the traditions include building private alters called "ofrendas" to honor the deceased, I think it's beautiful.
Ok, now let me back up a little. Back at the beginning of September, my pal Jacquie hosted a crafty party at her place in Santa Rosa. She had a bunch of cool things for us to try, one of which was painting paper mache skull masks (like these) which sounded like fun. Jacquie and I chatted away the afternoon, more chatting than crafting, but a great time nonetheless catching up with her and shooting the breeze. I left with a good start on my mask, promising myself that I'd get it finished by Dia de los Muertos so that I could share it with you guys. And then, as usual, I got swept up with new ideas - like Halloween swaps! I never forgot about my mask, I saw it every time I walked into my craft room, I'm just easily distracted.
I was discussing Chyna's passing with some friends the day after she'd gone when one of them reminded me about the Day of the Dead and that it was a good time to remember those who've gone on, which in turn reminded me about that unfinished painting project, so I took it up once again, this time with her in mind specifically.
It was nice to do something creative, even if it was sooner than I would have thought possible after losing her. The previous week had been so stressful worrying and watching her every move, listening for her to make any noise, timing her medicines and foods, keeping the dogs from annoying her too much. It was relaxing to zone out, listen to a book and draw & paint for a few hours.
Her name really was Chyna Cat Sunflower, I named her after a Grateful Dead song, the words of which don't really make any sense, it's just lyrical imagery, fun and pretty. I always loved that song, give it a listen, you might be surprised how nice it is. I picked a few little elements from the song to incorporate in my own way...
Candles to remember her...
Shadow cat, watching butterflies near a shower of pearls.
And sunflowers, of course there had to be sunflowers.
A giant sunflower for my Chyna.
And an alter for her, and for Butch...
My furry angels.
Bones & treats for Butch
Beer for Chyna, she loved beer. It sounds ridiculous, but it's true, she was forever trying to mooch from Sean. He indulged her sometimes, it made me craxy... those two.
Water to drink and a soft rug for them to lay on, welcoming & familiar. Everything here was gathered from around the house, much of it meaningful and tied to other happy memories.
I left the alter up until last night, a day longer than necessary, but it made us smile every time we walked past it, and that's a good thing.
I've only shared this with a small handful of friends, and I was so pleased to learn that many of them also have little shrines to the pets they've lost. Do any of you? I'd love to hear about it if you'd like to share.
Thank you again for being so supportive and sweet, you're the best!