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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

So Much Can Change in a Year

May 15, 2012. We were having a lovely birthday dinner for my friend Jan at a restaurant where the food was delicious as the atmosphere was elegant. The converted home-turned-inn was once owned by one of the executives at Oldsmobile when cars were young and we weren't even born. The wood walls were rich and polished, the paintings suitable for a spot like "Downton Abbey" and the service elegant. We were dining with friends visiting from California. It was a happy occasion.

And yet, I wasn't. Any gaiety on my part was false. Forced. I knew the next day would be one of the hardest of my life.

We returned home and I said to Rick, "Unless Gypsy shows an improvement tomorrow, we have to call Dr. Anne. It's time to let him go."
That night, we went to bed. Gypsy could barely walk, his poor back legs giving out on him, his once overly-plump body a gaunt, fur-covered skeleton. We had to feed him baby food on my finger. As Dr. Anne said, "He was wasting away," the kidney disease taking its final toll.

When we woke in the morning, somehow -- through the grace of God, I think -- this wee, weak, beloved creature had somehow -- we have no idea how -- made his way into our bed. It was the ultimate gesture of love, Gypsy's gift.
We drew him between us, and when we woke to call Anne, we left him there, where he stayed until soon before she arrived.

When we sat in the yard, under the unseasonably warm May sun, holding our boy, Dr. Anne came, and helped him through the last hour or so. There was warm, a gentle breeze, and if we weren't saying goodbye, it would have been a perfect day.
Gypsy was more than fourteen. He had come to us as a dumped kitten and this wee ball of orange fur quickly won our hearts.
He lived for treats. For Fancy Feast. For cuddles and love, forcing his way onto my lap no matter what I was reading, knitting or writing. He ruled the screened in porch at the lake.
He was legendary for the catching of a mouse and presenting it to me at five in the morning in bed. Not our finest hour, I think, but a memorable one.
 
And he always let us know exactly what he thought.
 
I've rarely known such grief. For my parents, yes. Maybe once or twice otherwise. Maybe. I truly thought I would never heal from this deep, impossible sorrow.

I wasn't sure either of us would. He was Rick's cat as much as mine.
 
A year has passed. We grieved long and deeply.
We had vacations up north and out west. Kevin graduated and became engaged. Greg was finding more work as a working artist, including two gigs at the Detroit Institute of Arts. Rick had a summer bike crash, then MRSA. And you know I've had my share of trials.

But we did learn to smile and love again. And while Lizzie Cosette is not Gypsy, she is Lizzie Cosette. We love them both. 
But we'll never forget our sweet boy.

37 comments:

Cheryl R. said...

Such sweet yet sad memories! As time passes, the happy moments will be more prominent; it will be easier to think of him with smiles instead of heartache. And he is always there in your heart, as my Happy boy is in mine.

Laura said...

Sending you a big hug and lots of love!!!!

Deb said...

Anniversaries can be hard on our hearts. I still feel that Gypsy was one of the luckiest cats on earth to have had your love all his life and given back as much. I think today you should sit, smile and remember all the good times together. Hugs, Deb

Sandy K. said...

Oh how you brought tears to my eyes this morning - in a very loving way. Your post reminds me of our own dear ones we've had to help move on, over the years. Most recently Dickens - and she was that! A Dickens! Here I thought I'd have a literary buddy, instead she showed me she'd live life her own way:):):). Fond memories - we're blessed to have known our little family members for as long as we have them, aren't we? Sharing your sadness, Jeanie.

Shelia said...

Oh, Jeanie! My heart feels for you as I've been at the same place. We had a little Boston Terrier who lived to be 13 years old and we had to put her down. I grieved for her forever and each time I see a little Boston, tears well up in my eyes. But when we got our little mini Schnauzer, Chloe Dawn, 13 years ago, pet love came back into my life. Chloe didn't replace our little Sugar but we love her just as much. Our little fur babies are so like our children. Saying a prayer for you today and thank you for sharing the sweet memories of your little Gypsy!
Be a sweetie,
Shelia ;)

Relyn Lawson said...

I know this was some time ago, but love is timeless and I know you still miss your boy. I am thinking of you.

Luna und Luzie said...

Live is going on....

This is a wonderful tribute post for your beloved Gypsy. I had tears in my eyes when I read it and it remind me so much to Luna...and to our doggie Patch, who was helped over the bridge at April 2012. One year ago.
We never forget our furry friends which goes with us a while the way of our life.

sending you lots of comforting hugs
Stefanie

Quiltmoose - Dagmar said...

This is a lovely albeit sad post! Thank you for sharing those wonderful memories of your beloved cat!
Thinking of you,
Dagmar

My Grama's Soul said...

Oh Jeanie......what a tribute to your wonderful Gypsy. I have two dogs that I ADORE....I know in time I will face the same decision and I feel so very sad JUST THINKING about it.

Stay well sweet friend,j

Jo

Annie said...

Such a beautiful tribute, Jeanie. And what I like about it is that in the midst of all your sorrow, during that year so much happiness has come your way, not the least of which is Miss Lizzie Cossette

Kathleen McCoy said...

Oh, Jeanie, I read your beautiful tribute to the inimitable Gypsy with tears in my eyes! I loved seeing the pictures of him as a kitten and as an adult. What a beautiful cat he was! And what a great life you shared with him. I'm glad the ending was so gentle and loving for him, though I know how difficult it was for you. It always seems too soon to watch our beloved cats age and pass away. Our beloved Gus, who looks very much like Gypsy, will be 15 next month and it's painful to see him slowing down and losing weight. We treasure every moment with him -- and this is a moving reminder.

You're so right that no cat ever replaces another. No cat will ever be another Gypsy. Or another Lizzie Cosette. But I'm glad you have the pleasure of her company now and such lovely memories of Gypsy. My thoughts are with you today!

Introverted Art said...

I can't and keep praying I will not have to make this decision. My boy is turning 13 this year and like Gypsy, he is not my heart. He is my heart...

Bella Rum said...

We had a Gypsy and she was a stray, too. I thought Gypsy was the perfect name for a kitty who arrived on our doorstep from who knows where.

Even though we know it's merciful, that final decision is difficult to make. I can't believe a year has passed. All the best, Jeanie.

Roses, Lace and Brocante said...

Oh Jeanie I vividly remember your post last year - my heart went out to you then as it does now.
Gypsy was one of the special animals that have ESP - not all do as I'm sure you know.
My last cat "Ziggy Marley" was the same. She was dumped at the park our old home backed on to and out of all the houses she picked us!!! We were so blessed - I still miss her 10 years later.
Take care
Shane♥
PS I've been to Vaux le Vicomte chateau twice now (My husband wasn't with me on the first visit, so he had to see it too. It's also quite close to my daughter).
Did you climb into the huge attic and see the original architectural drawings and model of the Chateau - amazing).

Barb said...

Who can forget Gypsy? My D-i-L's cat had to be put down Mothers Day. So sad for her - Punky was nearing 20. Thank goodness Punky didn't take a turn for the worse while I was staying with the kids a few weeks ago and the parents were on vacation!

~*~Patty S said...

Gypsy was one lucky kitty kat to be part of your home Jeanie ... and I know you feel so blessed to have had him with you for as long as you did ... if only it could have been for longer

Sending healing (((hugs))) your way
oxo

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

What a sweet tribute to such a beautiful and beloved pet. I can not believe it has already been a year since he passed from this life... He was such a beautiful cat and obviously such a treasure in your life. I'm glad I got to 'know' him through this blog.

Jeanie said...

What beautiful pictures and beautiful memories you have of your Gypsy. Hugs to you on this difficult anniversary.

Friko said...

No, you won’t forget your sweet boy, the memories will stay. But Lizzie will fill the big hole in her own way and you will love her just as much as Gypsy.

We go through this pain of losing our pets (members of our family) over and over again. Still, the joy while we have them is huge and without them life would be so empty.

Janet said...

This is such a beautiful tribute to Gypsy. I had tears in my eyes as I read it. Our pets can certainly curl up in our hearts and take hold. You will always remember Gypsy...he'll always have a place in your heart but your heart is big enough to include Lizzie Cosette, too.

Arti said...

I've to say, this is a moving post, despite my phobia. (I mainly focused on your writing... hope you understand) I could feel for you as you mentioned that Gypsy used his last strength to creep up to your bed and be cuddled one last time. Jeanie, you've got me there. I'm glad now you have Lizzie. All my best wishes to you all.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful tribute to a very special family member, Jeanie. The photos of Gypsy are wonderful, as are your memories of him.

Pat K.

Joanne Thieme Huffman said...

Gypsy will live in your heart forever; but hearts have so much room in them.

Anonymous said...

So well said.
You know, the Gypsy is always with you and Rick.
May all be well.
Love,
Maryanne, Merino & Bella

shoreacres said...

I can't believe it's been a year. It seems like just yesterday that you had to let him go. We all say what we know to be true - that it's the right thing to do, that the memories eventually will outweigh the grief, that each of these little creatures has their own gifts to offer - but when I look at Dixie just now, asleep in her chair, and put myself in your place? Oh, dear. It's going to be more than hard when the time comes.

Thanks so much for this wonderful post, and for reminding us all, again, to cherish the gifts we do have.

Privet and Holly said...

Tears, here. I
remember when
your sweet boy
went to heaven...
You are right, LC
is herself--and so
blessed to have a
home with you : )

Hope you are having
a good day, today!

xo Suzanne

Shelia said...

Hi Jeanie! You copy and print any image you'd like. I'm honored you like them! :)
Be a sweetie,
Shelia :)

Virginia said...

I have no words as the tears are streaming down my face. Love to you all.
V

Angelsdoor * Penny said...

Dear Jeanie,
Such a beautiful tribute to sweet Gypsy.. I know you will carry her in your hear forever.

Thank you so much for visiting Bebe.. If she brought you a smile this would make me happy.. I am so glad you enjoyed.
blessings,
Penny

Marilyn said...

Now this makes me cry. Funny Joey just jumped into my lap as I read this post. Does he miss Gypsy too? or is it food he wants? A very loving tribute for your Gypsy. Weren't you the lucky ones to have him step into you lives for awhile and love you dearly?

Happy Homemaker UK said...

We had to say goodbye to our dog not long ago. It was impossibly sad. So much love for the furry creatures :)

anno said...

It is hard to believe that a year has passed, and yet I know how keenly you have missed the beautiful and amazing Gypsy every day. Says something about our capacity for love, doesn't it, that even when we find new ones, we hold one to the old ones so dearly? Here's hoping that the heart-warming heat of summer finds you soon. Love, anno

Leslie Hanson said...

Our furry kids are family and they give us unconditional love. The grief we feel for them is as strong as the grief we feel for the loss of a human family member. Your Sweet Boy will always be in your heart.

Leslie Hanson said...

Our furry kids are family and they give us unconditional love. The grief we feel for them is as strong as the grief we feel for the loss of a human family member. Your Sweet Boy will always be in your heart.

I need orange said...

What a special guy he was. I know how hard it is when we must help them go on without us!

Sandra Evertson said...

It is heart break to loose a love like that. I know all to well... but we both know it is more than worth it although it doesn't feel like it at the time. I am sorry for your loss and I am happy that you have met another little furry one to love some more.
Sandra

Jennifer Richardson said...

oh friend.
big sigh.
hand held from afar.
no words.
just love,
Jennifer

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