Our Message to Gracey After Three Years

This entry is part 14 of 16 in the series Messages to Gracey
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Gracey, My Heart Cat

A few days ago, it was three years since you’ve been gone. This year hit me harder than last year and I think it is because we have been clearing out our grandparents’ and parents’ belongings.  Every photograph brings back a memory, every item a reminder.  The work has been tedious and exhausting, more emotional than physical. Well maybe both, I am not as strong as I used to be.  Years ago, I could work fourteen hours straight and be none the worse for the wear, but now, around the seven-eight hour mark, I not only need a hot shower but a dose of precautionary ibuprofen because I know the stiff and sore muscles are coming.

While clearing out, I found a beautiful photo of my mom when she completed her nurse’s training. After finding this photo, it made it easier to donate and clear other items that belonged to her.

Dorothy Jean Watts in her Nurse's Uniform

My Mom in her Nurse’s Uniform

I guess I don’t write too much about my mom.  It will soon be nineteen years since we lost her.  Nineteen years. How is that possible?  This time of year, the middle of May – the first week of June, bring the reminder of the time we all knew she would lose her battle with cancer.  Mother’s Day was particularly hard this year after just losing Paul’s mom too.

The saying, “Time heals all wounds.” is a lie.  But I concede that time stitches us up enough to go on.  Sometimes those memories surface and break our hearts all over again, but truth is, we wouldn’t have it any other way.  Those memories are the love that lives on in our hearts.

You would be proud of me. I limited the number of items I brought home to a minimum.  A bench Grandpa made,  Mom’s canister set, Dad’s glasses he wore as a boy and a lot of photographs to sort through.  Clearing loved ones belongings is difficult, but you just have to keep reminding yourself that their spirit does not reside in those objects.  I remembered an excerpt from Mitch Albom’s Tuesdays with Morrie.

“Don’t cling to things, because everything is impermanent… But detachment doesn’t mean you don’t let the experience penetrate you. On the contrary, you let it penetrate you fully. That’s how you are able to leave it…You’re afraid of the pain, you’re afraid of the grief… But by throwing yourself into these emotions, by allowing yourself to dive in, all the way, over your head even, you experience them fully and completely. You know what pain is. You know what love is. ”

Their spirit lives on in us.


Three years.  I can’t believe it has been three years.  You would be so happy to know that through the sales from Triple T Studios, we are sponsoring a Lion Guardian into the second year now.  We sponsor a Guarding Dog and Cheetah at the Cheetah Conservation Fund.  We have donated to purchase cameras for tiger and mountain lion conservation and several other conservation projects including Save the Frogs. We adopted two baby elephants at the elephant orphanage in Nairobi, not cats, but we love elephants too. Your spirit and the Conservation Cub Club live on.

It took me until today to be able to write this message to you.  I was just too out of sorts to put any words together.  Feeling heartbroken.  Early this morning I remembered another excerpt from Tuesday’s With Morrie.  When Morrie talks about losing his mother over 70 years ago his eyes well up with tears.   Mitch asks  if it still hurts after all those years and Morrie replies, “You bet.”

Your Dad and I are doing ok.  We think of you every day.  Thank you for sharing your life with us.




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  1. pilch92 . says

    That is a beautiful letter to Gracie. Those we loved are always with us in our hearts.

  2. Thinking of Gracie and her people.

  3. Sending hugs and purrs.

  4. sandy weinstein says

    what a lovely story. i love how you have not forgotten Gracey. the blogs are nice to read. wonderful tributes to your mom and Gracey.

  5. Melissa White says

    What a beautiful tribute….

  6. I love that picture of your Mom….you look a lot like her….

  7. I’m at my desk crying….what a beautiful tribute to both your Mom and Gracie. (((hugs)))

  8. Sherri H says

    Oh, Joanne! You and Paul have had too much grief lately. I read this post here in my usual coffee shop and I am so choked up. How could a little cat I had never met in person just touch my heart so much? Because of the love from her mom and dad that radiated through their words about her and about their many efforts to help “all cats, great and small!” I had been away from Facebook for a few days when I came home from wherever I was and read the post about Gracey. I stopped in my tracks and burst into tears. I cried as hard as if she was my own cat. I felt brokenhearted for you, knowing that pain from previous experience. And then you were there for me less than a year later when I lost my beloved Claude. I still think of him and Gracey sitting together in the lovely fields across the Rainbow Bridge, waiting for us, and welcoming other beloved kitties we knew and we lost.
    Many many hugs to you, and thanks, too, for keeping Gracey’s spirit alive. <3

  9. Pleshette McGrady says

    It will hurt until you are together again, I know this because as I read this I also cried. The pain is still real. Sending you so much love. She is looking down on you, just blow her a kiss.

  10. Kristen Gregerson says

    My first kitty was with me for 20 years (having joined the family when we both 1 year old), and she left us more than 25 years ago. I still miss her. 3 years ago I finally adopted a new cat. She isn’t a replacement, but she does fill the hole in my heart.
    Sometimes, when she’s playing, one of her toys will change direction for no apparent reason. I like to imagine that this is my first kitty visiting to play with her little sister.

    • Sherri H says

      Kristen, I know just what you mean about still missing those cats from our past. I got my Emma a few months after I lost my second kitty in a year. I hadn’t planned to, but Emma was 10 years old and needed a home, and who would want an old cat? Well, she has turned out to be a great comfort. I realize how sad I was not having a four-footed friend to greet me every night. Every now and then I think I see a cat vanish around a corner or behind a chair — I think the others are visiting us, just as yours does with her little sister.. My best to you!

  11. Kittie Danger says

    Much love to you, I know those exact feelings, yet you put into words what I have not been able to. Many blessings and hugs.

  12. databbiesotrouttowne says




  13. Purrs to you. <3

  14. Sharon Vinet Reames says

    So, so beautiful!! My heart goes out to you!! I cried when I read this because I, too, still hurt over losing my special needs kitty, Zipper, two and a half years ago. Knowing he and I will meet again at the Rainbow Bridge allows me to get through my grief. That and the 7 other babies I still have in my life — Petie Pie, Sushi, Marow Diva, Spice Girl, Sinnamon, and Clyde Daniel. Love dem babies!!

  15. This is so beautifully written. I could feel the love radiating through your words.

  16. Absolutely brought tears to my eyes as well. It is so very true that time heals wounds, but the scars remain. Last year we unexpectedly lost my father-in-law in January, my step-dad in May, I had a cancer scare in May, my sister-in-law did get a cancer diagnosis in August, and then in February this year we lost our beloved Ollie. It’s finding those treasures, like your mom’s beautiful photo, that help in what seems like the almost impossible task of going through the lives of loved ones via their belongings. As for little Gracey, she continues on through the legacy that you’ve built in her honor– so much good has been done, and will be done, in her memory!

  17. Chocolata Majora says

    That was so beautiful, I’m not at all ashamed to admit I cried a little. I lost my Snowball 2 years, 2 months and 5 days ago. I can’t even examine it too closely yet. It’s so lovely to read your story and believe I’ll get there.

  18. Cathy Cowan says

    Aww, Joanne, this again brought tears to my eyes. You all have done so much in Gracey’s name and spirit. Thank you, and I know she is thanking you too.