Friday, May 18, 2012

We Interrupt This Vacation...

We interrupt this series of vacation posts to share some sad news.
It is with very heavy and sad hearts that Rick and I said goodbye and thank you on Wednesday to Gypsy, the Marmelade cat that you see each time you visit this blog.

As some of you many know, he has been treated for kidney disease for about a year now and in February we nearly lost him. Our reprieve was all too short but we made the most of every minute of every day together.

He took a down turn while we were on vacation, and though he rallied a bit when we returned, he just couldn't get up to speed. I think he decided to let go before we decided to let go of him and was gently easing his way up to the Heavyside Layer (for you T.S. Eliot/Cats fans.)

On Wednesday morning we called his wonderful vet, Anne Rice, to help him make the transition. Anne is a holistic vet and a visiting vet. (Gypsy's first encounter with her is HERE.)

If you are fortunate enough to know Anne, you know that she made that transition easier not only for Gypsy, but for Rick and me, as well. We've often said, "She treats the people as much as the pets" and today was no exception. It was a very peaceful passing, outside in the sun, as we held and pet him, cried, and let him go. Perhaps in his mind, he was on his favorite couch at the lake. Or maybe he knew right where he was -- on the lap of the woman who found him, took him in and loved him.

The past few days have been incredibly hard as we watched Gypsy decline and begin to give up the fight. His last gift to us was last night, when in the middle of the night, he managed to climb into bed with us. We had made him a little set of steps (kitty litter boxes leading to a chair and to the bed) and until a week ago, he'd been able to go up and down easily. But his legs started to give out and the slippery litter boxes and their height was a challenge. He had hardly been able to walk for the last couple of days so this was very hard for him. That he did so was a true gift, a last chance to be with his peeps. That he did that means more than I can say.

Gypsy has given us a lot of gifts over the nearly 15 years he's been with us, including a mouse in the bed at the lake, plenty of giggles and unconditional love, lots of smiles.

 He was the master of quiet and wise understanding -- I called him my best Secret Keeper -- he never told a soul. (Oh, the blackmail money he could have hauled in, had he command of the English language!) I learned wonderful lessons from him, too, about cherishing the moment and appreciating each and every treat tossed my way.

It is clear that Gypsy "owned" me -- I never "owned" him. I had the privilege of being his person, cat-mom and guardian and he had me wrapped around his pretty striped tail and right in the pad of his gentle, soft paws..

We could tell things were changing in so many ways. But even in his last two weeks, with failing hind legs, he would try to sit up for his dinner. Then he pretty much lost interest in food.

In his last months, he was getting his nightly IV "juicing" treatments every night and each night he took it like a champ, never fighting it. It became our special time together. I'd sing him "Juicing" songs, sometimes give him a damp cloth bath, since his grooming skills had slacked off a bit, and pet and loved him. It never seemed like a "must do" but a "want to do." If Gypsy didn't want to do something, he wouldn't, so I think it was OK with him, too.

If you've read The Marmelade Gypsy for any length of time, you may well know that Gypsy happened into our lives when he was six-to-eight weeks old, a stray, probably dumped.

Boy, someone sure didn't know what they were doing when that happened. He was an adorable kitten, and even sweeter and more loving as he grew.

He was the subject of at least 71 posts, including this one of my favorites. And, in this post, I described how he found us and eventually, in addition to his job of being an executive assistant, was also a remarkable pet therapist, who knew a little about healing.

Every day of his life I was glad that he chose me to be his person and Rick soon after that.

In fact, Rick was his best bud. He treated him like a dog and Gypsy loved it. Whenever Rick came over, Gypsy was right there, waiting for treat-toss, his favorite game, or maybe a bit of breakfast from the early riser.

Our pets are more than animals to us, but our family, and Gypsy was my little boy, eternally three, like "Elmo" and always filled with wonder, energy, joy and love.
Our hearts are broken. We know they will heal but there will always be a space that only Gypsy can fill. He'll have to do that now as an angel. And we all need angels.

Rest in peace, Gyppy Rose, Gypadeedoodah, Sweet Boy. You'll live on in The Marmelade Gypsy.


Joanne Huffman said...

A loving and beautiful tribute to your loving and beautiful Gypsy. How wonderful for both of you that he came into your life.

Tracy said...

Oh, Jeanie... I'm terribly sorry for your great loss. This is the most beautiful kitty-cat parade-memorial ever! What a gift he was, and still will be to you all Thinking of you...((BIG HUGS))

tantemary said...

I can't imagine what possessed me to read this at work! Let's hope the makeup smears are ignored today.

I love seeing kitten pictures of Mr. Gypsy. Such a cutie!

I also love that he climbed into bed with you just before the end. My little Zoomers did the same thing. It's such a gift and to me, evidence that they understand quite a bit more than some might give them credit.

I can't keep crying so I'll stop. Please know that there are many of us who share your sadness.

Love and hugs to you and Rick,
Mary M-S

Jeanie said...

I'm so sorry that you are having to go through this loss, but I'm so glad that you had Gypsy for so long. You will carry all he brought to your life with you forever.
My thoughts are with you.

GolfShoes said...

Dear Jeannie, I am sitting at my desk with tears streaming down my face. Your tribute to your beautiful Gypsy is not only beautiful - but is almost exactly the same journey I traveled with my beloved Misha. Of all my wonderful cats -- and I've been owned by five of them now -- Misha was my pet soulmate. We were just meant to be together. He, too, spent his last months with failing kidneys and getting juiced up. His last day with me is as vivid in my memory as if it were yesterday -- though it was over ten years ago. I just had the privilege of meeting Ann Rice a couple of weeks ago. What a lovely person. So thank you for sharing your experience and spurring the sweet memories of Misha for me. I can assure you that you will heal - but you will forever be changed by the whole experience of being with Gypsy and helping Gypsy move on. Hugs, Lisa

GolfShoes said...

Jeannie - Golfshoes is Lisa Crumley. ;-)

Privet and Holly said...

My heart is so
heavy for you,
J ~ It's never, ever
easy to make the
decision to say
goodbye and let
them cross the
rainbow bridge.
You were an amazing
cat mama and what
a blessing that your
sweet boy came into
your life and blessed
it so. My thoughts,
hugs and prayers
go out to you as you
navigate these first
weeks without your boy.


beth said...

i also have a four legged love that owns me....i think that's how it should be.

i know your heart is's a hug to help lift your spirits....xooxo

Annie said...

Dear Jeanie,

You made Gypsy OUR kitty too, universally loved by all who met him through your wonderful stories. We will sure miss the new stories but I have a feeling there will be some reminiscence posts too. Long live the Gypsy.


Toriz said...

I'm sorry to hear of Gypsy's passing, but glad you had those wonderful years with him.

Being new here I never got a chance to get to know him, but one thing I do know is that you can never own a cat; it's always them who owns you. And if a cat like you describe Gypsy to be had picked me as his human, I would feel very blessed indeed!

I've had several cats in the past, and know how hard it is when they leave us for whatever reason. Look back on the happy times you shared, and know you gave him a happy life, and that he is watching over you now.

R.I.P. Gypsy!

Quiltmoose - Dagmar said...

Dear Jeanie,
I am so sorry to hear of Gypsy's passing. We all loved the stories of him you shared with us. Your tribute to Gypsy is beautifully written. May the pain and sadness you are feeling right now soon will lessen and only your fond memories remain!

Hugs, Dagmar

Beth said...

My heart is so sad and broken for you, Jeanie. When I saw your post on FB,,I had to cry because I know how very much that Furbaby meant to you. And all of the Wonderful "Gypsy" stories were so delightful. I know my time is soon coming with my Sweet little Brat dog, Lady. And my Kitty Carlita. They are very old and slowing down a lot. I dread the day when I will be where you are now. I truly am so sad for you. But You were a great Mommy to him, and gave him such wonderful Love. RIP Gypsy! Hugs for you, Jeanie!

Maggie said...

A beautiful tribute, to The Gypsy, we know the pain of losing loved pets ourselves so do know a little of what you are going through at the moment.
Thinking of you.

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

Oh Jeanie, I am so so sorry for your loss. :( What a heart breaking thing to go through. I am glad that you were with him when he peacefully passed on - I was worried he may pass away on your trip, and not being there for that final good bye would have been tough, I think (but of course it's tough when you are there...)

I am glad you have such great memories of him - many of which are documented here.

Sending hugs from MN.

Bonnie K said...

"... what we have enjoyed, we can never lose ... all that we love deeply becomes a part of us."

(Helen Keller)

Pam~ Virginia Retro said...

A wonderful tribute to your beautiful gypsy. It's so difficult and heartbreaking to lose a pet, even after a long and wonderful life together. I am forever thankful for the loving memories I have of my Lily, Toni, and Custer (cats), and Sadler (dog). The bond between pets and people is an amazing and precious gift. My heart is heavy for you.

Janet said...

As a person "owned" by cats, I can only imagine what you're feeling right now. You have written a beautiful and loving tribute to your special boy. He will live on in your memories and in ours, too. I have loved reading your posts about Gypsy and will miss them.

Retired English Teacher said...

I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your beautiful Gypsy. I know how much you loved him. You wrote such a beautiful tribute to him.

Gypsy was a beautiful boy. His baby picture brought back memories of my kitty that I had as a child. Penny was the same color as Gypsy. I loved her so much. She was my very own special cat. I never have had another cat. Your tribute to Gypsy almost makes me think of getting one.

I love, love, love the picture of his paw.

Marilyn said...

Hugs to you and Rick!

Robin said...

I only knew the gypsy through your eyes and the love and delight you shared over the internet made me appreciate how wonderful a freind he was as well as who you are as a human being. I too have my own stray and priceless friend and i understand that the goodbye is as important as the hello. He must have felt so safe and chereished in his final days. You are amazing jeanie and i have adored you all the more for your love of the gypsy. XO i know you will miss him so much :(

Keicha said...

Jeanie, I'm so sorry for your loss. What a beautiful, sweet tribute to Gypsy. It brought tears to my eyes.

Pets are family, and losing them is so hard. Please be tender with yourself in the coming weeks and months as you mourn.

Love and hugs to you.

Barb said...

I'm so sorry to hear this sad news of Gypsy's death. I saw it on Tammie's Facebook page and came to give you hugs.

Jennifer Richardson said...

oh friend.
no words.
just tender tears
and big warm hug
for you.
sad sigh.
with you,

Oh said...

Dear J, I had to come here tho' I knew from our e-letters how you were doing. The pictures here are so beautiful. It's the photo of his paw that gets me.

Holding hands with you across the miles,

anno said...

Such sad, hard news. I am deeply sorry for the loss in your life, the absence you must feel so keenly. What beautiful memories you've shared here: we will all miss the amazing Gypsy. Sending hugs and loving prayers your way.

Deb said...

I'm so sorry, Jeannie and sad to read this post. What a wonderful boy he was. He was a lucky one too to have a loving home all his 15 years. I am up at our shelter often and I see the other side of this. So many never have that second chance. I hope soon every thought and memory of Gypsy will bring a smile to your face and help heal the heart. Take care. Hugs, Deb

Linda said...

Oh, I am soooooo sorry. I know the pain you feel.... Gypsy was such a gift in your life... and you and Rick were blessings to him. Just treasure that you knew this love... and I know you know this. I'll be praying for you.

OldLady Of The Hills said...

My Dears My Dears...Such a loving sweet dear Tribute to your Sweet Boy! My Heart goes out to you both and my Heart knows the pain of this loss.....! What a darling little guy was Gypsy----And yes, Family! More than Family.....!
I know he knew exactly where he was as he transitioned in your loving arms....No greater love hath man towards a loved one than to help him or her through that last phase of life....! They break our hearts because they bring us so much unconditional love---these special sweet little creatures....!
RIP Dear DEAR Gypsy....! Sending Healing Hugs Your Way....

Herzblatt said...

I am normally not a person who cries very quickly, but this time I must cry!! I can feel what you have lost because when our dog Ronja died some years ago, it was the same.We had her only 11 years...much too short.
You are in my thoughts!!!!!
I embrace you!!

The Artful Diva said...

I am sorry for your loss. Gypsy sounds like he was an extraordinary cat and I know you and your family will miss him.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jeanie, today is the first day I visited your blog. Your Marmelade Gypsy was a beautiful cat. His green eyes are so mesmerizing and very spiritual and captured my sight right away. I'm very sorry you lost your Mr. Gypsy, but glad you had many years and memories with him since he was a cute little kitten. It is so touching that you and Rick were there with him in your arms when he peacefully went to sleep. Tears are falling down my face for you. Our pets are just like children to us. Look forward to your travel photos and blogs. Have a good trip back east.
Kindest regards,
Tucson, Arizona

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

Oh, my, Jeanie! My eyes filled with tears of sorrow for your loss and with joy for the. Nearly 15 years you shared your life and your love with the inimitable Marmeade Gypsy. Thank you for your email that alerted me. I have been on a trip to L.A. To visit a friend in distress and my online access has been limited and sporadic. Please know you and Rick are in mt thoughts as you deal with the loss of this beautiful, loving and very special fur person.

The French Hutch said...

Oh it's so sad to loose a sweet pet. I'm so sorry for your loss. I lost my sweet springer Bentley when he was 14. I had such a sweet vet, he came to my home and the same thing as with your kitty. Out in the warm sunshine. Gyppy Rosse, a lucky boy, he found the best home, where he was meant to be……….

The French Hutch

Naturegirl said...

Jeanie I am filled with sadness as I read this post with tears. I am so sorry to read this heartbreaking news. I know only too well the feeling of loss and pain when one loses their fur baby.
My heart goes out to you and your family and I send comfort and hugs to you. May sweet Marmalade rest in peace.I''m sure the feline family are also grieving.
love and light Anna and her 2 feline girls. Purr-Zzz. xo

Dusty said...

Heartbreaking, Jeanie. Hugs to you and Rick.

The French Hutch said...

Hi Jeanie, Look forward to your new post from your trip.I know it's going to make me want to hop on the first flight out, I could never get enough of France! Still have you and Rick in my thoughts and prayers.

Roses, Lace and Brocante said...

Dearest Jeanie
Oh my dear - I really for you both.
I'm sorry I'm late reading this post, but may I offer you my sympathy and love.

This is a most wonderful tribute to your darling Gypsy - believe me I've got tears in my eyes as I remember my old ginger cats Binky and Abbey.

Gypsy had an excceptional life with you. Wasn't he lucky finding such a happy welcoming family to be part of and take care of each other.

RIP Gypsy - may you have happy dreams and friends where you are now - we will all miss you too.

Much love
Shane xox

Sandy K. said...

Oh, Jeanie, my heart breaks for you. My eyes welled with tears reading your beautiful tribute, and reminded me of our own losses. How do these creatures infiltrate our lives, our minds, our hearts? Yes...another angel to bask again in the sun.

shoreacres said...

jeanie ~ I've thought about you and Gypsy daily since hearing the news, and someone just couldn't bring myself to come over and read this. Today, I thought I was ready to say goodbye, but here I am, crying my eyes out again.

You and Rick were as much a blessing to his life as he was to yours. This is a beautiful post, a reminder that I need to record a bit more of my life with Dixie Rose. The time will come when I'll want to pay tribute to her, too, and words alone never do when it comes to our fur-babies.

I see you've revised your little "About Gypsy" paragraph on the sidebar. I did laugh when I read, "Goodbye, Mr. Gyps". It would make him happy to see that flash of humor in the midst of so many other feelings.

jet1960 said...

I am way behind on my blog visits, but knew I had to comment on this post. I had read of your loss on Facebook, but so glad I came by to read your sweet tribute here.

When you share your heart and life with pet, especially for so long as your Gypsy was with you, a bond grows that will always remain. I enjoyed reading about him throughout the time I've know you. My heart aches for you as I know you are still missing him.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

I am so sad to read about Gypsy's passing! I know how you feel as i have lost beloved cats that were so very dear to me. They really become part of us and therefore never leave us as they remain in our hearts forever! {{hugs}}

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