It has taken me a long time to write this post about my best friend, Jim, who passed away in August 2013. It was even harder to write about the cat he left behind–the only animal he really loved, named Pancho. And it has proven to be extremely difficult to write this post about the death of Pancho. I think that it just brings a lot of unpleasant memories surrounding the death of Jim. You will understand what I mean soon enough. Now that I live in a neighborhood where we have two stray cats that always seem to find themselves on my porch, I feel like I can tell the story about Pancho. (I feed the cats and pet them and give them love. Shhh. Don’t tell my extremely allergic husband)
Around 12 years ago, Jim was in a relationship with a man (whom I still call my friend today), named Miguel. Miguel was a lover of animals and of love in general. So when Miguel moved into Jim’s beautiful row home in Washington, DC, Miguel took a liking to stray cat who hat been terribly hit by a car. While Jim didn’t care for animals much let alone stray cats, he saw how happy this cat made Miguel and he witnessed a sweet nurturing side of Miguel that he adored. So Jim and Miguel began feeding Pancho (Miguel came up with the name for the female cat by giving her the name Pancha. But Jim was able to say Pancho easier. So Pancho stuck. Ha).
Over the years, Jim and Miguel’s romantic relationship crumbled but they remained best friends. Jim kept Pancho in the break up and really ended up loving Pancho so much. The August 2013 day when my sister and I went to go break into Jim’s house because we were worried about him, we saw Pancho peeking through the window at us. Pancho looked a bit distressed and kept coming to every window Linda and I tried breaking through. It made it hard for Linda and I to break through the window. We didn’t want Pancho to get hurt.
We ended up calling the police who then called Fire Fighters. Fire Fighters broke into Jim’s house— and what they discovered was a gruesome end to a life cut too short. Pancho was given to Miguel who lived 45 minutes away in a rural suburb of Maryland. Pancho tried adjusting to her new life. Miguel enjoyed having her because Pancho was a constant, loving reminder of Jim. But sadly, one day while Miguel was at work in October 2015, Miguel received a phone call from a friend who was at his house who said that 2 neighbors dogs were let loose and ate Pancho alive right in front of her. She tried to stop the dogs but it was too late. Pancho’s remains were scattered all over the yard. Miguel rushed off the phone, and by the time he came home, he was alone again. He didn’t have a chance to say goodbye to Pancho the way he didn’t have a chance to say goodbye to Jim. Pancho left this world in such a horrific way the way Jim left this world. Miguel called me to tell me what happened and I was crushed. This was not fair. Pancho had a tough life but found love through Jim and Miguel. Why did these dogs have to destroy her spirit? It makes me sad to this day when I think about Pancho (even though Pancho was a bitchy little thing, haha). The only thing that gives me solace is knowing that she is with her dad and they are both at peace.
So there you have it. This isn’t about my life as a fire survivor. This is a story about survivors living and deceased. We all have a story to tell. We all deal with pain in some form or another. But if we have love, that pain even for a little bit dissipates, and we keep moving forward. Jim and Pancho were survivors in so many ways, but have found their peace even if they had to leave this earth with a little pain.
xoxo. My next blog post is a list of my favorite things that includes make up I absolutely love. Talk to you next week!