This is a Love Story. This is a Life Story.
My first DH never had a pet so he was mystified by my devotion to my Airedale, Big El. And when an industry colleague of his died trying to get his dog off train tracks, he had some unsympathetic things to say. The notion of loving a dog, really loving, was completely alien to him. Then we got a little Rott puppy – and I watched as that baby snatched DH’s heart and kept it clutched in his paws until the day he left this plane. It is almost always thus. It was thus for Christopher Chong.
As you all know, Christopher Chong is the Creative Director for the vaunted House of Amouage. What you might not know is, Christopher is also a dog-parent. This story is about his baby girl, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, whose pedigree name was Midnight Flower. But to Christopher, she was Georgie. And she was the love of his life. Towards the end of August 2012, her heart started failing and at that, Christopher’s heart broke, too. We spent the next month talking and preparing for the inevitable. So much love for his girl – and so much pain at the thought of losing her. Non-animal people probably thought he was nuts. But he did everything he could, hoping and working for the best but knowing that his ultimate responsibility was to make those last weeks the best he could for her. And he did, giving her her favorite Harrods doggy donuts and showering her with all the love and care in their world. She passed out of that world on 6October, devastating an exhausted Christopher.
But Love is a funny thing. What has the power to devastate you also has the power to lift your soul higher than it’s ever been. Christopher’s grief slowly transmuted into a sense of joy at having had the privilege of loving his best friend. And he determined to celebrate that love. He created 3 candles to mark the passages through grief to emerge, once again, into the light of happiness. They are lovely, albeit in a quiet way. Not overblown, bombastic scent throwers, these candles are very intimately scented and are designed to bring a feeling of calm and peace to those experiencing heartache. And the packaging is so gorgeous it’s almost impossible to open them – almost.
Normally I don’t cite much from press releases but this, copied from the official Amouage release, perfectly describes Christopher’s goal in designing these candles:
‘Hope’, the first of many emotions in the healing process, is restored with a floral heart of Rose, Violet and Ylang Ylang piercing through strong, spicy top notes of Pepper, Ginger, Cardamom and Cumin. Calming Incense, Patchouli, Sandalwood and Oakmoss create serenity in the base.
Opening with sharp Grapefruit, Orange and Aldehyde, the top notes of ‘Love’ recede to reveal a deepened heart of Rose and Patchouli. A comforting sensation of warmth is enveloped by the Vanilla, Musk and Cistus base.
‘Happy’ resonates with a spicy and woody blend that invokes vivid memories. Wonderfully warm top notes of Cinnamon, Clove and Nutmeg, together with a heart of Rose, Heliotrope, Plum and Almond, narrate the fondest memories of a loved one’s life. The base radiates the final stage of the healing process with long-lasting, fresh notes of Pine, Patchouli, Sandalwood and Vanilla.
Life really does go on, as we know. And Christopher determined that his loss should translate into something positive. So
50 percent of profits made from the Midnight Flower Collection will be donated to an organization which partners guide dogs with the visually impaired and people with disabilities. Chong is passionate about contributing to people in need for them to experience the same unbreakable bond he shared with Georgie.
I can’t think of a better way to honor a beloved. The candles are not yet available here in the US, alas. Right now you can get them at Amouage in London, as well as the Sultanate of Oman and other shops in the Middle East. I’m hoping we get them as soon as possible – they really are lovely. As lovely as the love between Christopher and Georgie – and all of us who share our hearts with our animal companions.
Oh! The other beautiful thing about loving??? … there is always room in your heart to love again. And again. I don’t think anybody – but especially animals – wants those left behind to suffer in grief. The ‘guilt’ a lot of us experience, when another soul presents itself to love and be loved, is of our own making and animals usually just stomp all over that and snatch our hearts anew. And that’s as it should be. Christopher and Bracken (Georgie’s butterscotch partner)welcomed a psychotic little puppy into their lives – Harper. Harper was everything wonderfully annoying about a puppy, which is persackly what Christopher and Bracken needed. Nothing like a howling puppy at 5am to snap you out of the doldrums and into a swearing fit!!. Now, 6 months later, everybody’s settled down to a nice life together. And Georgie is up there smiling, sniffing her candles – and other dogs’ butts because that’s what dogs do! Especially in heaven. Can you imagine the dog butts in heaven? If I were a dog I would want them to smell just like these candles.