Since You’ve Been Gone. Our Message to Gracey

This entry is part 2 of 16 in the series Messages to Gracey







Gracey on Imperial Cat Chair and Ottoman

Gracey on her own little chair and ottoman.

Our Message to Gracey

Since you’ve been gone we are doing our best to pick up and carry on but to be honest it hasn’t been easy. Coming back to our home without you was one of the hardest things I ever had to do.   Putting the key into the door and not seeing your happy face running towards me made my heart sink and tears stream down my face.

Stepping inside, I saw your water fountain unplugged and stagnant.  I made it to the kitchen, put down my bags and stood still. Not hearing your voice telling me about your day, not being able to scoop you up and bury my face in your neck and not being able to carry you out into the sun room to look out over the yard, was more than I could take. Lazy Leopard looks so lonely.  I sat down and had a good cry.  The kind of cry where you can’t breathe for a few moments and you think you can’t go on.  But we do go on, just on a different journey.

I thought I would fill the bird feeders and take Bossy Back Yard Blue Jay his peanuts.  I procrastinated coming home, stopping by the store to load up on food for your friends.  I made it to the garage and lifted the hatch on the Jeep but that was as far as I made it that day. I felt so weak and vulnerable.  I thought I couldn’t fill the feeders without being able to see your face supervising my every move from your windows in the sun room.  I wouldn’t be able to touch your pink nose  through the glass  on my way back inside.

I cleaned out the refrigerator of all the different types of food we had for you.  Each lid turned with the hope that you would  eat.  We didn’t know you were so sick Gracey or we wouldn’t have tried so hard to make you eat. You were such a good girl and so patient with us. I washed up your bowls and syringes and packed up your little tiger rug.

I tried to be strong when your dad came home because I know how much he is hurting too.  But when I saw his face, I fell apart instead.  He wrapped his arms around me and said, “Let’s go for a ride.  That’s what the old folks do.” And this made me laugh.  We went for that ride  to postpone being alone in the house without you. Our home feels so empty.  Your parents are lost without you.

Your dad went back to drinking coffee in the morning.  Your morning tea ritual was a big part of his day.  He tried to make tea in his Meow Chow mug but just couldn’t.  He moved over to the sofa and drank his coffee watching the early morning news.  Without you dancing on the counter, the kitchen was just too lonely for him.  I ate a boiled egg instead of Fage yogurt for breakfast, without you here I couldn’t open the container.

Since you’ve been gone, we could sleep in longer if we wanted but we don’t.  I could leave my water glass on the end table by the sofa, but I still guard it and take it back over to the kitchen sink.  I could leave the office door open because you aren’t planning any sneak attacks on the cactus but I shut the door anyway. Bad Kitty is still in the corner.

Our friends from work sent us a dozen beautiful sunflowers.  I don’t know how they knew I love sunflowers.  Your dad helped me cut the stems because I was shaking and we arranged them in the glass vase.  We could have set them in the middle of the table as a centerpiece without worrying they would be knocked over, but your dad set them high up on the counter.  He said they would get more sun that way. And I just smiled.

We could reclaim the master bath as our own, but your litter pan is still there. When we set the alarm we don’t have to hit silent to protect your ears, but we do anyway. We see you out of the corner of our eyes and start to look  for you around the house. Sometimes we think we hear your little claws on the hard wood floor and our hearts race, only to realize, it can’t be you.

Spring time brings thunderstorms and you were so afraid of them.  We worried so much that you might be home alone when a storm went through. Last summer your dad took his vacation to stay home with you when I was in Namibia.  I think that was the greatest gift he ever gave to me.  He loves you so much he didn’t want you to be home alone during the day for so long a time and I didn’t worry as much leaving you.

I started thinking about how much we love you and that we tried our best to give you your best life. We didn’t travel together overnight for five years because one of us needed to stay with you to make sure you got your medicine and you were doing fine.  In December, we drove all the way home from our graduation ceremony to be with you, just to turn around early the next morning to drive the three hours back for me to speak at the Cincinnati Zoo. And you know what, you were worth every bit of effort we ever made to keep you happy and healthy.

Your dad and I are trying hard but our hearts are so broken. We promise to try to think about the happy times during our lives together. We just need more time.

Joanne and Paul

Subscribe to our newsletter





Series NavigationHeartbroken and HealingBeing Brave and Feeding Bossy Backyard Blue Jay A Message to Gracey

Never Miss an Update or Giveaway!

* indicates required


  1. Angel Abby says

    I can feel the power in your words of the ache that is still in your heart for you sweet girl. Thank you for sharing this testimony of love with us. Keeping you in my thoughts.

  2. We all deal with grief in our own time and way. I feel emotions so deeply that I have to move forward through grief with happy thoughts in order to survive. My fur children will always have a special place in my heart.

    Mom Paula

  3. Wonderful words. I am left wanting for my own after reading yours and send love, purrs and prayers from us all

    Timmy Dad and Family

  4. Deb Barnes - Zee and Zoey says

    Oh Joanne – such a beautiful, eloquent, and haunting post. My heart aches for you and Paul, as I went through the same thing with my Mr. Jazz. To this day, I cannot wear the clothes the day I had to help cross him over the Bridge.

    RIP darling Gracey – you were so, so beloved and our lives have been made better for having you in it.

    Thank you so much for participating in Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day – xoxo from Mr. Jazz, Deb, Purr Prints of the Heart and the Zee/Zoey Gang

  5. Beautiful post even though you made me cry.

  6. * just visiting * I hope you guys are bearing up OK after the loss of Gracie. You must miss her heaps……

  7. Crossing Over

    I can see a Rainbow
    The sun shines after rain
    They say they send you Rainbows
    When they cross the Bridge again
    Because you see they bound between the worlds
    Dance and play beyond the veil
    Because mysterious is the Spirit
    That wears those ears and tail

    You may feel her in those moments
    When she’d greet you at the door
    For she can play in good health now
    And skid across the floor
    Her playmates yes they see her,
    They meow at unseen form
    For in this very moment
    She’s waiting to be reborn
    As perhaps another kitten
    Who will tap with playful paw
    And gaze at you with emerald eyes
    To tell you what she saw
    That yes there is a Rainbow Bridge
    Filled with fields of Clover
    And there is really nothing to it
    Coming to and Crossing Over

    D.A.H.K 2/2011

  8. Cat Pieterse says

    First time ever I read something you wrote, and I am bawling like a baby. I am so sorry for your loss!! Take care. xox Cat Pieterse

  9. Lorraine Grabauskas says

    I am so sorry about Gracey! I just found out. I wish I could help, but only time does that and it takes a lot of time. Hugs to you both.

  10. Dee Veccia says

    I have no words, only tears. I am so sorry, and so sad to hear that Gracey has gone to the Bridge. I loved her story- you got me hooked. I’ve had her in my news feed, and always looked forward to her posts. I was so happy and proud when I discovered I had Lazy Leopard’s long lost brother- it made me feel connected to Gracey in some small way. While right now the pain is so much more than you can bear, I can tell already you know that your lives are so much better for having been blessed by loving Gracey, and for her loving you. Some of us have been lucky enough to have that once in a lifetime cat. For me, it was my beloved Sasha, my soul kitty. For you, it was Gracey. Thank you for sharing her with us, and for opening your hearts to her.

  11. Pam Said says

    I am so very sorry, I have only tears for Gracey. My thoughts and prayers go out to you both Joanne and Paul.

  12. Brian Bethel says

    You were so good to Gracey, Joanne. She was one of the first cats I “met” on Facebook, and I adored her “updates” here and there immensely. The work you have done in her name is powerful and profound, and the lives of cats large and small have benefited from your dedication and love. She was a beautiful little girl, one who found her own special paradise with you and Paul. Bless both of you for the work you have done and the wonderful life you gave her.

  13. The Island Cats says

    We are so sorry for your loss of Gracey. We send you comforting purrs and headbutts.

  14. BorisKitty says

    Ma human iz cryin readin dis. We will all miss our Gracie. *HUGS* to u all.

  15. Carolyn Schellhardt says

    There’s a big hole in my heart. Although I never got to meet Gracey in person, I still felt as if I knew her because of your mom’s wonderful blogs. Lazy Leopard, Big Bossy Blue Jay, the squirrels. I felt as If knew them all. Your mom and dad,too. I can just imagine how empty the house feels. It’s happened to us 4 times. But you will always be with your parents, even though they cannot see you. You will be in their hearts forever. And you will be at the gates of the Bridge when it’s their time to go.Bless you, Gracey. You have made so many people happy and have done so many wonderful things for your feline cousins. Be happy and play lots with your new (and old!) friends!!!

    • Carolyn, thank you so much for your kind words. You have been so nice to Gracey, Paul and I and even though we have not met, we feel that you are part of our family too. We are picking up the pieces and preparing to celebrate Gracey’s life with us.

      I am working on a book about Lazy Leopard, Bossy Backyard Blue Jay and Bad Kitty too. I think you might like it.

  16. My heart is broken for your loss. I enjoyed reading of Gracey’s adventures and will miss her ever mischevious stories. May you find peace in your memories of her.

    • Thank you, Robin. We are beginning to find peace and thinking about all the wonderful time spent with Gracey. Thank you for being a part of our The Tiniest Tiger community.

  17. anne.smith says

    Gracie was loved and you saved her to have additional wonderful years with you. When our cats die, we feel their presence for a long time, and we often “see” them out of the corner of our eyes. In actuality, we are seeing shadows from our glasses, or eye floaters, but we take comfort in pretending that we have ghost kitties that love us so much that they want to stay with us. We like to think that they stay behind to protect us from the invisible things that cats see when they stare at the ceiling and we see nothing. We have been fortunate to always have more than one kitty to come home to, so our house has never been as empty as yours. They share our grief and demand that we keep going and continue to take care of ourselves and them.

    Someone explained to me that we have to have sorrow to balance out all of the joys we have. Without the sorrow, we would not know how happy we are. The sorrow from Gracie’s passing will never pass the amount of joy she gave you. I hope you will not wait too long to welcome another “Pound Kitty” into your home. New kitty will never replace Gracie ( our first one died 15 years ago, and we still miss her), but to give you love and companionship and to lead you to new adventures with a different personality and a different attitude. hugs.

    • Anne, thank you so much for your kind words. No amount of sorrow could surpass our love for Gracey and the joy she gave us. We are now able to think about all the happy memories and know that Gracey would want us to rescue another cat and provide them with a safe and loving home.

  18. Amy Orvin says

    Joanne and Paul, my heart truly goes out to you both. I am so sorry to hear about Gracey! I will miss her too as I was always visiting your blog. I loved looking at all of her beautiful pictures. She is in God’s arms now…waiting for you. Love always, Amy <3

    • Thank you, Amy. I am so glad to have you as part of our The Tiniest Tiger community. We will continue on doing the work that Gracy inspired us to do. I hope you will stay with us on the journey.

      • Amy Orvin says

        Absolutely! I am always here for you, Joanne. Anytime you need to talk or anything. Please never hesitate. I know how it feels to lose a baby. I lost my Toby in 2011.

  19. Reneda Cooper Baer says

    I am so sorry for your loss. It’s truly devastating to lose someone you love so much. Gracey had such a positive impact on the world while she was here. She will be missed by many. You are both in my thoughts and in my prayers. May you find peace in your heart. RIP sweet Gracey.

  20. lisa kranick says

    Thank you so much for the love you gave us all through dear, wonderful Gracey. Were it not for Gracey, I would not be working as hard to teach people about the need to adopt and love cats with disabilities and illnesses. Gracey is my hero, and she always will be. She has not truly died, as she’ll live on forever in heaven, and we will all rejoice at the reunion! One day our teas will dry up, and then we’ll be glad to keep busy on behalf of cats of all kinds – for Gracey. Love and hugs – Tata<3

    • Thank you, Lisa. And thank you for helping others to learn about cats with disabilities and illnesses. They can live out their days happy and give so much love. We will continue on Gracey’s mission to care for all cats big and small. I hope you will share the journey with us.

  21. Snotface Ferret says

    Hugs and Love your way Joanne and Paul – my heart is breaking with you, but smiled at the thought of her gorgeous face filled with mischief. I appreciate your gracious sharing of your life with her here and in your book.

  22. Joanne and Paul, I am so, so sorry for your loss. Gracey will live on in your hearts, but I know that life will never be quite the same for you. Having recently lost one of my cats to CRF, I understand some of the pain you are feeling. You both are in my thoughts and prayers.

  23. Thank you so much for such a lovely tribute to your sweet Gracey. I’ve lost four of my adoptees in the last 13 months, one wee girl had been with me for 17 years. It’s good to know that others also grieve as deeply over the loss of a furry friend. Bless you both, and let Gracie guide your healing process – she’s watching and encouraging you with love and purrs.

  24. Brings tears to my eyes; I feel your pain. Thank you for sharing.

  25. I am devastated.

  26. I am just learning of this. I am heartbroken. My thoughts are with you both. I know I never met Gracey but; I fell in love with her the minute I saw her. What a special kitty. I will truely miss her. What a wonderful tribute.

  27. As much as this broke my heart, I had to get through it all. It does me so much good to hear of others and their bond with their kitties, not only to remind myself I am not the only one, but to remind myself that there are homes like this out there for the kitties I foster. All too often I am bombarded with the negative of people who do not care, It is so wonderful to be reminded that there are ones who do..

    not to mention it was so wonderfully written, the imagery is so clear and the feelings come through so crisply.. It is a wonderful tribute to a wonderful kitty

    Thank you for sharing.

  28. carolinegolon says

    Oh, Joanne. My heart is breaking for you both. xo

  29. Ingrid King says

    My heart is breaking for you and Paul, and I have tears streaming down my face as I’m reading this beautiful letter to your precious girl. Know that you’re in my thoughts and prayers.

  30. So sorry for your pain and loss. She was blessed to be so loved, so many animals (and people) never experience that. We volunteer to have our hearts broken every time we take one of these amazing creatures into our homes and hearts, but it’s worth it every time. I’m sure she’s watching over you and maybe those little clicking claw sounds are a sign she’s still around in another form 🙂

  31. There are simply no words for THIS!..
    Since I very first met Gracey, she became for me a daily source of wonderos joy.. I could hardly wait to see what new thoughts and great adventures she is up to next and every single day. From the beginning she got right under my skin, and I have considered her a dear sweet friend ever since, as innocent as she is playful and a little mischievous, as thoughtful as she is impulsive.. 🙂
    My heart can neither comprehend nor accept THIS! Our Gracey is always going to be with us!! Life is too tasteless, too dull otherwise, she brought color and endless joy to our days!..
    .. and if surviving THIS means that from now on i’ll go home every day and play with my guys a little longer, squeeze them a little harder, love them a little more.. than THIS means that your life, sweet Gracey, is and was well spent, was and still is teaching all of us how to live loving every day.
    Thank you, sweet baby! I am lucky to have ever met you! And to your parents, dear Joanne and Paul: Thank you for so generously having shared your baby with us every day, and thank you for your.. grace!
    I have been crying since I read your news this evening.. I cannot even begin to comprehend the immense void your daily existence has to face..
    .. But the love she still fills our hearts with is real!.. and hope that by trying to let you know how different and more beautiful our lives became because of her (and you), the heavy weight you have to carry right now might ease, if only just by a bit..
    Much love to you.. all. always!

  32. I’m so sorry for your loss…this tears me up, as I can’t imagine losing one of my two babies, though it is inevitable one day. </3

  33. *hugs* My heart aches for you and with you… thank you for sharing Gracey with us… it’s so hard to say goodbye to a loved one.

  34. A beautiful tribute to Gracey.
    It brought back memories of my two cats, Finzi and Bessie, who will never be forgotten.

  35. Our lives would be less, if not shared with those felines we have lost. How many years til your heart doesn’t ache…forever. I still grieve the loss of my very first cat, who had lymphoma…way back in 1988. But it is because of her that I love cats. It is because of Gracey that you love cats, too…She may never have known, but we all know what a difference she made in the lives of so many cats, big and small,,,

  36. My deepest condolences on the loss of your baby! I had to put my 5 year old cat Luna to sleep due to Acute renal failure in February. We miss having them with us physically,but we know in our hearts they are free of pain and suffering at the Rainbow Bridge! They will live forever in our hearts and our memories!

  37. My thoughts are with you as you miss your sweet girl. I will miss hearing about her day. Thank you both so much for sharing her with me.

  38. My heart and hugs are with you =^..^=

  39. MyKinKStar says

    Gracey was met by a whole bunch of friends on the other side, so no worries, she is not alone. That pretty girl is forever embedded in your souls, so no worries . . . Anyone who is loved is never really ever gone.

  40. Gracey was a lucky cat. I know she felt the love. You and Paul are special people. Take all the time to grieve. But please take care of yourself. I know you remember how sick I got when Earl died. So, please take care of yourself, and know I’m just a call away.

  41. What a beautiful tribute to sweet Gracey. When I lost Cheeseburger five years ago I felt writing was an outlet for me, a way to try to deal with his loss. I think of him everyday, he will always be in my heart and I’m so thankful we shared 10 years together. His love, friendship, trust and understanding was beyond anything I have ever known ~ he will always be my soul cat. I still tear up when I see Pepperidge Farm Goldfish crackers (we used to share them) but when I talk to people about Cheeseburger and they hear his name, they smile, and in turn that makes my heart smile. You and Paul gave Gracey a wonderful life, and a safe, loving and happy home. I hope in time all of your cherished memories of Gracey will bring some comfort to you both. We are so grateful that you shared your precious girl with us.

  42. There go my tears again. I feel silly, losing it over someone else’s furbaby, but there you have it. Gracey wrapped herself around my heart as well and I feel her loss deeply. The pain you two are enduring right now can be crippling, as your house just can’t be what is was just a few short days ago. I know those few days feel like an agonizing lifetime … and then some. Given time, you’ll start to smile through your tears when something reminds you of something silly Gracey did; eventually better days will start to cloud your sadness and your healing will truly start. Gracey was one savvy cat and I truly believe, when the time is just right, she will lead another into your hearts and laps, and right onto your kitchen counter. Until that time, I wish you both the very best.

  43. Malia Ragan says

    Oh my, I can’t stop the tears from streaming down my face. What a beautiful tribute to Gracey. I can only imagine the pain you are going through. Our pets are our children and when they are gone, our world changes. I promise, Paul and Joanne, it will get easier as you go through the grieving process. But, until that time, please know how much Gracey was loved by you and all of the good you have done through her. When I got on the computer early this morning as I always do, my first thought was I wouldn’t find any cute posts or pictures of Gracey and it made me very sad. Prayers and hugs to both you and Paul.

  44. i’m crying just reading this – my prayers are with your family, when I lost my Brady 5 1/2 years ago I couldn’t go home – I stayed at my sister’s house for the weekend, it was too empty …. time will help ease the pain but will never remove it – after two months I rescued a brother/sister pair of kittens, it took two to fill the hole my first kitty had left in my heart

  45. Jerzeecat says

    Gracey was such a beautiful girl. Her spirit will always be with you. She knew she was a special girl and was loved by people around the world because her parents are such caring people. I have pets but many people for whatever reason can not have pets. Sharing Gracey and her funny ways made so many people laugh and take her into our homes as if she was one of our own family. Imagine the happiness she brought to those who can’t have pets. God bless both of you for sharing your beautiful Gracey. God bless Gracey for bringing so much happiness to everyone.

  46. Carol Mathews says

    Beautiful. Gracey will always be with you. Thank you for sharing her with everyone.

  47. Awwwww…This is heartwrenching ((hugs)) for you both.

  48. So sorry you are missing your Gracey. Yesterday on my Birthday we lost our fat cat I feel your pain.

  49. Just know that Gracey touched many lives, especially mine. We miss her, too.

  50. It’s hard to see my computer keys to type. So beautiful…We are wrapping our hearts around your pain and loss. (((purrs)))

  51. So beautiful,I feel your heartbreak. Someday Gracey will be with you again.

  52. April Billings says

    I feel your pain and heartache. I went through the same thing in 2009 after losing my second kitty in less than a year and a half. Both boys were over 16 years old and very ill with different things. The short time between their passings was too much for me and I was without a cat for a year. Then another rescue kitty came into my life at the age of 7 years. She was neglected and abused. I know for the past three years that she is very happy. Take the time you need for Gracey. Our furbabies are family. My deepest sympathy to you.

    A. Sue Billings

  53. Beautiful. 🙂

  54. Thank you so much for this, Joanne and Paul. And for sharing Gracey with all of us.

  55. bonnie wilson says

    so beautiful … I don’t have words, but pray that you will have peace one day, knowing that Gracey knew how much she was loved by you both, and how much she loved you back.

  56. So sorry for your loss of this wonderful cat. I know you both loved her very much, and I’m sure she knew that. She will live on in your hearts. I do understand how you are both feeling right now, as I feel the same way each and every time a beloved cat of mine departs this world.

  57. What a beautiful tribute to your little girl. My heart hurts. Joanne and Paul, you are in my prayers.


  1. […] Individual Blog Post: River Front Cats, The Tiniest Tiger’s Conservation Cub Club, Sparkle Cat, Covered in Cat […]

  2. […] Conservation Cub Club – […]