Monday, November 26, 2012

Gracie Janie

My sweet Gracie Janie entered into eternal rest this morning.  (And by "rest" I mean constant cat napping upon billowy clouds with cat nip and toy mice consistently on hand.)  She is survived by her (yet to properly grieve) mother, sister Tessie Marie (who never really liked her and passed along a violent case of the flu to her when she moved in), Lola Jean (who moved out a while back) and her on-again-off-again canine friend Mary Gertrude (whom she only indulged in the very last weeks of her life).  She is also survived by doting grand-cat-parents who were always willing to help out with her exorbitant vet bills. (When this cat got sick...she GOT SICK!)  They were also so kind to check on her when her mother skipped her mother is wont to do.  She is apparently survived by a litter of kittens, but we never met them.  She showed up at my door immediately after she weened them.  She walked in the door, slept on the bed for three days and never, ever, ever attempted to leave.
For three years Gracie and I JUST inhabited the same space.  She would have nothing to do with me.  She would not come near me, would not allow me to touch her and rarely even acknowledged my presence except to perch on the bathtub every time I stepped in the tub or shower.  (Privacy meant nothing to this one.)  I had to earn her trust by allowing her to just be.  We reached a turning point and from then on she was my sweet girl.  Sure she was irate when I brought all the "others" home; but she always came around, albeit with quiet arrogance.  She tolerated the others; she loved me.
I've known the end was near for quite some time.  For months I had been whispering into her ear, "It is okay to go, sweet girl.  Don't stick around for me.  You just go whenever you need to."  Gracie hated leaving her home and so I was NEVER going to allow her last breaths to be taken outside of this home.  I was at the vet last week and I was assured home euthanasia was an option.  I promised I would call them when I saw her quality of life decline.  But up until last night she was still eating, drinking water, walking around, gingerly of course and loving on her mom.
Apparently she fell asleep in her new favorite front of the refrigerator...warm for her old bones and she never woke.  After my shower Mary and I bounded downstairs eager for coffee and breakfast and we both stopped in our tracks.  I whispered, "Oh no, oh no, oh no no no..." and Mary barked.  "Stop, Patty.  Think.  What next?  Make certain....touch her head."  At that I saw her empty eyes and sad, foamy mouth.  "Stop, Patty.  Think.  What next?  Shoe box.  No...boot box.  The Ralph Lauren boot box."  Emptying the box I realized Gracie would NEVER lay on a surface if the surface was not covered by something soft and fluffy.  "Stop, Patty.  Think.  What next?  Blanket.  What blanket?  I don't have an extra blanket?  Wait....down stairs...chest of drawers in foyer.  Right.  Yellow silky blanket."  As I picked up her lifeless body...I laid her regally upon the brightest yellow blanket...almost golden and I was struck by the beautiful contrast in color.  I wanted to take a photo to show everyone how dignified she was, even in death.  But I decided it was too macabre.

I finally managed to text mom and dad, call work, keep Mary from licking the remains and clean the area where she slept for her last time.

Her frail body had already started decomposing and had been taken over by a few tiny bugs.  I was horrified.  She must have passed just after I fell asleep.  I felt humiliated for her and ashamed I hadn't noticed she was gone all night.  But as I cleaned the floor I realized our bodies are but a vessel, really.  In the end they grow hard and cold, begin to liquefy and break down...they aren't what defines us at all.  Our soul, our life, our breath...that's the stuff of life.  Maybe I will think twice when I complain about my "vessel" next time....or lament my diminishing botox or fading hair color.  In the end...none of that will matter.  

I have yet to cry.  I think I am mostly happy she is no longer confined to an aging body.  She is now free to be forever young.  God's creations aren't ours...the are gracious loans to be enjoyed and celebrated for every moment He grants.  

Gracie is being cremated.  I am hoping when her ashes return to have a small the style of Babette on Gilmore Girls.  Remember?  Cinnamon's Wake?  I'll play some Thelonius Monk for my Grace!
This was a beloved cat. -Lorelai

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  1. Oh, Patty. I'm so sorry to hear about Sweet Gracie. She was a beautiful cat and you obviously loved her and understood her perfectly. Hugs, friend.

  2. This reminds me of my sweet Johnny. So sorry for your loss.

  3. Thank you both! I loved her greatly! And I am so pleased she is at peace now!