Being Brave and Feeding Bossy Backyard Blue Jay A Message to Gracey

This entry is part 3 of 16 in the series Messages to Gracey








It has been one week since you’ve been gone and it seems like it’s been a year to your dad and me.  A broken heart doesn’t seem to understand or follow linear time. No need to break it down into the days, weeks, months or more just so we might think we should be feeling better. We should feel exactly how we feel.   We must acquiesce.

One day this past week your dad called me and asked if I would bring home a chocolate cake for him.  “A chocolate cake?” I asked.  And he said yes, that he needed comfort food.  I teased him by asking how long do you think you will be requiring comfort food and he answered  “Oh,  about another thirty years.”  We both laughed and it felt good to laugh.  Oh and I did stop and pick out chocolate cupcakes for your dad.  And lemon cupcakes for me.  My resistance is low.

I was home today and it was the first day home alone all day without you.  I made it.  I only started to look for you a few times and when I empty heated thinking circlegot the mail, I still went out on the porch with the door shut behind me. Closing the storm door is a habit started to protect you just in case you decided to bolt out the door. You never tried to leave the house, but  I never took the chance.

I opened up the sun room for the first time today. It is unseasonably cool today so I opened the windows and let the cool breeze come into the house.  I saw your little heated thinking circle unplugged and empty.  My  heart sank and I found it hard to swallow.  But I managed to step into the room and look out onto the backyard.

Bossy Backyard Blue Jay visited me.  He was really squawking up a storm too.  I thought I would be brave and go fill the feeders and deliver his peanuts.  I decided that I would wait until your dad came home so we could go out together.

I came back into the office and worked on a few things.   I heard the lawn mower start up and jumped out of my chair to hurry and close the windows to reduce the noise. You really didn’t like the mower interrupting your thinking time in the sun room. I decided to leave the windows open and and saw your little heated thinking circle unplugged and empty.

Your dad came home and  we ate sandwiches again.  Five days in a row.  We don’t seem to care.  I asked if he wanted to join me in filling the bird feeders and he said he would.  We carried the seed, suet and peanuts out into the backyard and worked as a team to fill all the feeders and listened to Bossy Backyard Blue Jay announce our arrival. We didn’t look into the sun room where you would have been watching us.

We walked around the house and were amazed how fast the weeds have taken over the flower beds.  Tomorrow we could work on them for awhile.  We closed the windows because it is supposed to be in the 30’s tonight.  I took one last look at your thinking circle but this time, this is what I saw.

blurry gracey heated thinking circle

You are in my heart and memory and I can see you in your heated thinking circle when I close my eyes.  And this makes me feel happy.

Your parents are doing their best to go through the motions without you.  It has only been one week.  The longest week we can remember.

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Series NavigationSince You’ve Been Gone. Our Message to GraceyCollecting Your Ashes. Our Message to Gracey after Two Weeks

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  1. Shadow Dance Ranch Kittehs says

    Still can’t read this beautiful letter to Gracey without tears. We miss her so much. xoxoxo Elizabeth and the SDR Clan.

  2. Sending big hugs.
    Sue B

  3. Karuna Williams says

    I am so very sorry to read about Gracey! I didn’t know that she had left us. I am crying , reading your beautiful messages to her. I hope the time comes when you feel you are strong enough to offer your heart to another little tiger. God bless and help heal you.

  4. anne.smith says

    What a beautiful painting she looks like an angel cat. Please remember “What we keep in our hearts is ours forever.” Gracie will always be alive in your heart.

  5. theresaoconnell says

    I’m so sorry about Gracey. You both know she’ll always be with you. {{hugs}}

  6. Sebastian Palmer says

    This made Mama’s eyes leak. She knows how bad your heart hurts because hers still hurts for me. She wishes she could make it all better for you.

    • Your Mama was one of the first people I thought of during this difficult time. I was able to draw strength from you Sebastian. Thank you for your kind words. I know you and Gracey are together having a great time.

      • Sebastian Palmer says

        We are Ms. Joanne. One of the things that helps Mama get through the hard times is knowing how wonderful it is at the Rainbow Bridge. Please know that you’re in Mama’s thoughts a lot right now. She’s also got an ear if you need it.

  7. Phoerauf says

    I think about you & Gracey every day. Sending you prayer & light.


  8. Such a beautiful remembrance of Gracey during such a difficult week for you both. On this Memorial Day weekend, we all remember those who have left us but never really leave us. Here we remember our cats Cheeto, Snickers, KitKat, Shady, and Elaine. It has been long enough that I remember them all with a smile, although right now it’s accompanied by a tear… Hugs to you both…

  9. So very sorry for your loss, this brings the pain for me all over again, I’ve gone through this 4 times already, and every time they take a piece of me with them, and I say every time that I can’t go through another loss, but here I sit with 1 of my 9 month old kittens, was only gonna get 1, but they are like potato chips, you can’t eat just one. I always remind myself that the time I have with them, will be a stronger memory than the pain of watching them get old and someday leave us behind, and it does to some extent, not all of course, because to those of us that have pets not kids, it’s the grief a parent has when loosing a child, only we put ourselves on that path knowing the outcome. I waited and grieved for about 2 weeks, and couldn’t stand living with the ghost of my grief anymore. Now Seamus and Duncan have brought laughter and joy back to this house, and I will once again spend every day finding them wonderful, crazy, exhausting, little love monsters. I wouldn’t have any other way, I have found we always have room in our hearts to love and care for another cat or kitten that needs us as much as we need them, they have a way of making things better, and healing your heart and soul.

  10. I read somewhere that a deceased animal’s spirit will come back to you. When my cat Malarkey suddenly died, I grieved for more than a year. At that point I decided i would like a kitten with his spirit. I found James, who is not Malarkey, but enjoys the same kind of joie de vivre. Like Malarkey, he is a funny and happy boy who is just a little full of it. I know it is too soon for you to get another cat, and I also don’t think that you can replace Gracey. I do believe that she will always be with you in spirit, and possible in corporeal form as well.

    Your writing has brought tears to my eyes and reminded me that I need to appreciate my beloved cats and express my love for them every day because they won’t live forever.

    Take good care of yourselves – grieving is very hard work.

  11. michele c. hollow says

    Sending love your way. It is hard, and it is amazing how our cats have trained us. After Earl Gray died, I still checked the doors and would sometimes look around for him. I knew he wasn’t here, but it was just habit, and hope that he would appear.
    We never get over the loss. Yes, time does help, and we have new kittens now. But I will always miss Earl, Belle, and Gigs. I sometimes feel them nearby, and sometimes I think I see them dart by.
    Indulge in lemon and chocolate cup cakes, and most of all take care of yourselves and of each other. You are both special.

  12. Our numbers are many who feel the heartache & understand.

  13. I feel your pain, from the depth of my soul, I feel your pain. It is so hard to want to face the day sometimes…knowing they are not here to see it with us. …You are not alone. There are people out here who understand what it means to love a cat. There are even a few of us who understand what it means when that cat loves you back, how it changes us, makes us better people…You don’t have to be brave, you don’t have to be strong, you don’t have to put on a happy face for the rest of the world right now because this next week will be even longer! Right now, you DO have to cry, you DO have to feel angry…you have to grieve…for as long as you have to. There are no rules for grief. You’ll get ‘there’ when you get there…There are some who understand…I understand…

  14. My heart is breaking for your loss, this is the saddest, most beautiful article about Gracie! She would be proud of how brave you are handling her departure. The pain never goes away, but it does get easier. My thoughts and prayers are with you both, hoping you find comfort during this difficult time. :'(

  15. Amelia's Mom says

    Joanne, I cannot tell you what an amazing writer you are. Your letters to Gracey are so precious and I can’t thank you enough for sharing them. To know Gracey even virtually was so very special. She’s never failed to bring a smile or laughter and I’ve often found myself, saying “Super Hoorah” or “pounce” in conversation and smiled at the source. It’s my believe she will always be with you as long as she remains in your memories and heart. Many years ago, I was devastated when my dearest life long friend passed away. As recently as this past year, she’s come to visit me and I firmly believe Gracey will return to your habitat for occasional visits. I wouldn’t be surprised if you don’t find your coffee “sweetened” by one or two “unexplained” hairs. Continued thoughts and prayers in your healing.

  16. Laura Malone says

    Having lost my Firecracker in January I know the feeling of coming home and it being empty I swear the cat tower creaked like it did when he jump on it He was my baby boy for 9 years and I miss him everyday but I know he did not like it when I cried so I try not too

  17. Just think what a special little soul Gracey was to touch so many hearts, and how kind of you to “share” Gracey with us. When I lost Cheese, I couldn’t even go back to my apartment, I stayed with my Mom. When I did finally go home, I looked in all of Cheesey’s favorite places thinking I would see him there. When I went to sleep that night, it felt as though Cheese had jumped on to my bed as he would at night – wishful thinking maybe? I believe his energy and spirit was there with me and remains so. Their love is so pure and unconditional it never leaves us ~ Gracey will always be with you.

  18. katboxjanitor says

    Your posts are so poignant and loving. Gracey was a beautiful kitty who was such an inspiration for you to work for the animals. Isn’t it amazing how big the spirit of such a being as Gracey can be?

    I occasionally see a shadow of my dear Toes (the solid gray in my pic) when I am in particular need.
    I swear she gave instructions to Marbles the day before she passed, it took us a while to find a new normal…but I treasure the paw-prints she left behind in my heart.

  19. Heather Marthaler-Cypher says

    such a heartfelt message for Gracey….my eyes are overflowing with tears as I read your words. how wonderful it would be if our furry family members could be with us until the end of our time here on this Earth…I have said a prayer every night for you, your husband and Gracey since I learned of your sad news. may all of the support you receive from your online community give you the strength you need and help to ease some of the pain. she was a very special girl!

  20. That’s a beautiful sight. Gracey wasn’t my cat but she touched my heart. Love to you and your husband.

  21. Sherri Hildebrandt says

    I have been thinking of you all week long, the two of you and, of
    course, Gracey, as I am sure many of Gracey’s fans have been doing, too.
    Losing a pet is one of life’s hardest moments. When we get them as
    babies, we know we will probably outlast them, so we are setting
    ourselves up for sorrow — as well as such immense joy and love. Reading
    your essay brought me to tears instantly, because, as you know, I was a
    huge fan from the moment I read her first post. I’m glad you wrote this
    because I was wondering how you are doing, and because you are
    reminding us that really, the love and joy make it all worthwhile. It
    just didn’t last long enough. ;-(

  22. I remember those feelings all to well. My heart aches for you and my eyes leak.

  23. This is the first I’d seen of your sad news. I sit here now, crying with my own dear girl, Bethany, in my lap. She has cancer, and I hold her close now as she purrs, drawing every moment with her as deep into me as I can.

    Gracey inspired you to do amazing things. May Bethany do the same for me.