Anyone who knew Chris knew that he loved elephants. They are incredible creatures of amazing strength and gentleness. Chris was fascinated by their complex social structures and rituals, and the legacies of their multi-generational memory.
I brought his large collection of elephants to the funeral home and invited people to take one and keep it as a memento in memory of Chris. Many people hesitated at first but I encouraged them and by the end of the day, all had found a new home. One of the stuffed elephants went home with his cousin's young daughter. When I asked her what she would name it, she replied "Chris".
Today I was going through the box of Christmas decorations and came across a lovely elephant ornament I bought Chris several years ago that I had completely forgotten about. It was supposed to go up in our first Christmas tree that we were going to put up in our new house this December.
A few weeks ago, I was reading an article in the Globe & Mail about a limited edition bentwood elephant stool that is being produced in honour of the anniversary of renowned designer Charles Eames' 100th birthday. It's so cool - Chris would have loved it! (However, it would have been quite a pricey addition to his collection!)
There is an natural habitat elephant sanctuary in Tennessee where old, retired, and sick elephants can live out the their days in a reasonably natural environment free from circus tricks and zoo enclosures. Chris came across the sanctuary's site several years ago and wanted to support this worthy cause. Perhaps that will be my Christmas gift in memory of him because elephants - and Chris - never forget.