Friday, September 18, 2009
We "met" through Julie's Isla message board, and then met in person at one of the chatter gatherings here on Isla - probably in 2001.
We shared a love of animals, and especially cats.
In the early years we would get together when we were both here at the same time, usually with friends. A couple times we went for dinner together, and it was then that I learned about Renee's past life in Belgium and how she single-handedly raised her three children, educated herself, and moved into a successful career.
She was proud to be a Canadian immigrant. She loved Canada, and especially Montreal. She planned to share her life between the two countries. Canada because she loved it, her children and grandchildren were there, and she needed to be there 6 months out of every year to keep her health coverage. Isla because she loved it, she had many friends here, and she could live affordably. She seemed to have the best of both worlds.
Renee loved to walk, and we often came upon her during her walks - sometimes alone, sometimes with a female friend who was visiting. Renee was heart-broken over the development at Punta Sur, so much so that she stopped walking in that area. She got a bicycle, and we'd also see her cruising through the colonias to do her errands.
Renee spoke French, Spanish, and English. I spoke English, Spanish, and French, although not nearly as fluently as Renee. Between the three languages we managed to understand each other, mostly. Renee helped me find a pedicurist, she explained the options to get Miguel to Canada for a visit.
Renee was passionate about dolphins in capture. She would describe the suffering she witnessed with anger and sadness. She loved the pelicans, and used to tell me to say "Hi" to them when she knew I was coming to Isla.
Renee was a strong woman, very sure of her opinions and not afraid to express them. She had just received her FM3, doing all the work herself. As she said to me just a couple of weeks ago, when I asked if she used a lawyer - "No - I speak Spanish, it's no problem for me".
Renee and her daughter Emily were great friends of Delfino's (our vet). Renee would take in sick kittens and nurse them back to health, and would grieve for the ones she couldn't save. Renee gave much of herself to the people and animals of the island - she cared, and she did something about it.
Emily often assisted Delfino at the clinic, and I remember that even at the tender age of 16 she had a mature understanding of the life of the vet - the joys, and the sorrows. Renee was proud of her daughter, and along with a love of animals, they shared a love of diving.
Renee was murdered yesterday, here on the island she loved so much. Supposedly she was killed by someone she knew, someone who had threatened her. Rumors are rumors, but the horror of her death is unfathomable. She did not deserve this.
My heart goes out to her family back home in Montreal, and to all her close friends here in Mexico. Renee was respected and loved, she was a beautiful person. Renee found beauty in simple things - the sunrise, the sea, the sand. She described herself as a nomad in her latest blogs. She had that kind of soul.