Goodbye My Gertie

Gertie

I try to keep things light and fun around here with cheerful content each day, but life isn’t always cheerful and light. And that reality came crashing into my lap just days ago, when my sweet little Gertie passed away at just three and a half years old.

To say it was unexpected feels like such an understatement. She was so young and (seemingly) healthy. Yet, one minute she was cuddled up next to me on the couch, like always, and the next minute, she was gone.

I’ve been trying to wrap my brain around it somehow, but all I can come up with are thoughts of how unfair it feels to not have been able to spend more time with her. I’ve lost pets before and it’s never been easy. But this one, this one is different.

The first night we brought Franz and Gertie home with us, Gertie had a runny and nose and would sneeze over and over again very quietly (and cutely). She sat in my lap until she fell asleep and then I moved her next to me on the couch so I could do some work. I brought my laptop up to the armrest and started typing… and before I knew it, I felt a soft little kitty crawling back onto my lap. She nestled her way underneath my laptop, into my crossed legs and stayed there until it was time for bed. She did this for countless days after that, long after the sniffles went away, until she was too big to fit in her favorite spot anymore.

And as she got older, when Jeff and I would come home from work each day, Gertie would be sitting in the window waiting, then come to greet me as I walked up the stairs, lay next to me on the couch each night until I was ready for bed (without fail), sleep right by my head at night. Sometimes she would purr so loudly, Jeff and I would make fun of her and tell her to ‘turn off her lawn mower’ at night because it would sometimes be hard to go to sleep, with her right next to us purring. And I honestly can’t believe that I’ll never hear that lawn mower purr again. Or stare into her slightly crossed eyes, pet her big mitten paws, rub her soft little belly…

I just don’t know how I’m truly going to be able to say goodbye to a family member who I thought would be with us for so much longer than she was able. If any of you have any recommendations for how to cope with a loss like this, please please let me know. I am so torn up – she was my little buddy and I already miss her more than I could have ever imagined.

Gertie – you were the most uniquely sweet and unusual kitty I have ever known. We were so lucky to have you in our lives and we will love you always.

Gertie

Gertie

Gertie and Franz

Gertie

Gertie

Gertie and Franz

Gertie and Luna

42 comments | Click here to reply

Gertie sounds gorgeous, I just lost my cat of 4 years old a few months ago and I know what you are going through. All the habits are missed. Sending my love your way xxx

Harri

This is such a beautiful and heartfelt tribute to little Gertie. I was fortunate enough to know her and these pictures bring tears to my eyes. She was special, to say the least and I’m so very sorry for your loss. Your stories are heartwarming and it’s quite evident that Gertie loved you as much as you loved her. My thoughts are with you and hope that you can heal and find comfort in knowing that Gertie’s life was full of love and contentment because of the special bond and love you two shared

Karin Fowler

I am so sorry and I know exactly how you feel…last week I’ve lost my beloved cat, Sofia. She was about to turn thirteen so she wasn’t as young as your Gertie, but she could still live a few years more. I’ve had cats living up to twenty or twenty-one years, but of course they were the exception, not the rule. Still, at whatever age they choose to go, it’s hard, always. My Sofia was sick, so I was able to get mentally ready, kind of, because you never really are, but to face a loss so sudden, it must be terrible. I would like to have the right words, but I don’t think there are. What I do to feel better is thinking about all those poor kitties still in shelters, or in the streets, with no home, no food…our pets were lucky, they had wonderful lives, and that’s the important thing. Gertie was very much loved and now she is pure light and energy. Much love to you, I hope you’ll feel better soon.

bobbi

Sorry for your loss. What at cutie.

Dorthe

So sad for you – all loved pets are almost like your children

Moira Barlow

I am so sorry for your loss… gone too soon. xoxo

sara

My heart aches for you and the others who loved Gertie. Someone had poisoned our dog, Zoo-Zoo. We hadn’t wanted a new pet but this sweet gal was from a split home. She neeeded a temproary home. In the end she became a family member. lol

So, my heart wasn’t healed yet from losing our Zoo-Zoo when one day I come home to find a tiny kitten asleep on the couch. I was angry. I asked all human family memebers and all denied inviting this kitten to sleep on our couch.

When it woke up I put it out. Every chance it got it ran in the door. So time goes by and we fall in love with this rascal. He becomes known as Alekos. Everyone who came in our house fell in love with Alekos. I myself tried not to love him but he was irresistable to even people who didn’t like pets.

One day two years later and my husband finds him dead, just outside the garden gate. That was a year ago. I miss Jack and Zoo-Zoo. (dogs) Very much and always will but Alekos has a left a whole in my heart. It will never heal, he was just a special being.

My point to all this is that sometimes our connections are so strong and so overpowering that they won’t heal. The wound will scab over but not heal.

This is true for you and Gertie and me and Alekos.

We will have to live with this ache and longing for more time with them…

Debra

Oh my heart goes out to you! We suddenly lost our sweet 5 year old kitty (Oscar) this past winter and felt heartbroken and blindsided because it was so unexpected. I wasn’t at all prepared to loose him and was surprised by the depth of the grief that ensued. Having been through that experience and knowing I will go through it again, this is what I learned:
It is a terrible loss and don’t let anyone diminish your feelings, a pet is a family member and the pain we feel acknowledges that.
You will feel heartbroken and it’s uncomfortable to feel that sad but hang in there and know you WILL get through and heal.
Hold on to the fact that you provided a happy and safe home for your pet and that your kitty knew she was loved.
Give yourself some time and if it feels right, bring home a new kitty to love. This is not a replacement but a new chapter .
I will always miss Oscar but the grief isn’t as raw and I strongly believe (or hope) in an afterlife that includes our furry family members.
I’m so sorry for your loss!

Kate

Hi Brittni!
This post broke my heart. I can only imagine the pain you’re in. I’ve lost an amazing kitty a few years ago and it’s really devastating. What helped me was to be greatful for all the lovely moments that we had together. I know my baby had a great life and I’m sure Gertie had one too! I hope you can find some confort in this thought. <3

Bruna Lourenco

I’m so sorry about your loss. It’s hard loosing a pet especially so unexpected and so young. She looks and sounds (in your story) to be a lovely cat! Wish you all the best. It might help to talk about it or, and maybe this sounds stupid, but I found it helpful, write her a letter and tell her how much you loved her and miss her etc.

Evelien

It´s hard to loose a friend!
My heartfelt sympathy!
Sabine from WO(rms) in Germany

Sabine from Germany

Brittni, I am so sorry about your sweet Gertie. How is Franz? Hugs, lots of hugs. Pat S

Pat Schwab

I’m so very sorry. Animals are like our babies. So sad to hear of any passing especially young ones.

Deborah Amos

This made me incredibly emotional. I’m sorry for your loss. Losing a family member is devastating.
Gertie was absolutely beautiful, what a beautiful kitty and a beautiful soul. I hope that you can find some comfort in the time to come.

Samantha (@PlanetBakeLife)

I am so sorry for your loss. It is SO hard to loose a pet. They are family and such important parts of our everyday life. Praying for you.

Aimee

Im so sorry for your loss. I know exactly how you are feeling about now. I lost my girl Pekoe at age 18 months from Dry FIP. I had raised her from 3 days old as a foster after her mom was killed by a car. . I watched her 4 litter-mates die , I worked so hard feeding her thru an ng-tube and injecting IV fluids and antibiotics into her. She was my world. She thought I was her mommy. She didnt know she was a cat until we brought another rescue into our home. I never even thought shed ever die so young. You gave your girl a great, happy, secure life. And know she loved you. The sadness will stay with you always but your pain will lessen day by day. Good luck to you.

Lisa

Hi! I’m so sorry to hear of your loss. It is so hard to lose a pet. I am crying as I write this because I have lost two sweet cats in the last
several years. They were both very much loved, but they were much older than your adorable Gertie. It is difficult, but over time the pain is eventually replaced with fond memories of the time you shared with them. The fact that Gertie was so young and her death so unexpected makes the loss harder. Be kind to yourself. Take all the time you need to fully grieve her loss. Everyone is different and there is no formula for grieving over a beloved family member.
My vet has a page on his website where you can set up a memorial dedicated to your pet. Perhaps your vet has such a service. It’s a place to record photos and memories of Gertie. It will help to share your thoughts and feelings with others who have experienced the same thing. Take care and God bless you as you travel this road. Thank you for sharing this experience with us.

Debbie Fitch

I’m so sorry for your loss. 🙁 I recently lost my little pup, and she was as big a part of my days as Gertie was for you. I’m still hurting weeks later, and I think a little bit of me always will be. You’re already doing the right thing. It helps a lot to look back at photos, tell her stories, and remember her. I keep my pup’s collar and tag on my desk where I can see it and hold it. It’s no replacement for my sweet girl, but it helps give me something concrete to connect to. Give yourself permission to cry and grieve for as long as you need to. This kind of heartache takes time. I don’t cry every day anymore, so healing will come. Take care, Brittni. I’ll be praying for you.

Spring B.

Losing a cat–and so unexpectedly– is just heartbreaking. I’m so sorry to hear about your loss. (I don’t comment often but your blog always makes me smile. I love everything you do here.)

Steph R.

Oh, Brittni! I’m so sorry to hear that your Gertie passed away. That’s such a sweet story about how you developed a special bond in the early days and how it continued to grow over time. ((Hugs)) to you as you continue to process this loss.

Kimberly
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