Goodbye dear, Gentle Josef….

Janet's fabulous Easter gift and Josef in a sunbeam 2016 009 (2)On Good Friday, Josef, my cat was in the studio, sitting in a sunbeam; he had never looked better. Yet on Easter Sunday morning, as if to remind me that nothing in life is certain, he took sick and then later died at the Veterinary Hospital in the afternoon.

Josef  had needed special care since his brother, Ossie died. He would not sleep alone without his Brother to cuddle up to and he developed a deeper connection and a special language to communicate with me to make up for the loss. Happy to be described as a cliché; the lady living alone with her cat, I tried to compensate as best I could for the absence of his brother so that the bond which  Josef had lost would not affect his health.

He was such a little bundle of joy, a gentle cat who loved to be on my knee. A sweet companion throughout the hours, but especially at the end of each day. He was a little sunbeam, my support team on a bad day and my animal family.

I listen for his little bell on his collar, for his cry at 5 a.m for his breakfast or for the company and affection, for the confirmation that we are both loved. But all I hear is silence.

josef sunny morning Feb 2016 002 (2)




47 thoughts on “Goodbye dear, Gentle Josef….

  1. I am so sorry dear friend. You have so much love to give and receive. I pray the God of all comfort fills your heart with the assurance of His love and presence for He has said He will never leave or abandon you. You are so precious to Him. The Bible says He is acquainted with sorrow and a smoldering wick He will not snuff out. He bares our burdens and saves each of our tears. I am praying for you Karen.♡♡♡

    • Thank you so much for the words of comfort which come both from you and from God. It is a blessing indeed to be reminded that we are all precious. Although that is something which I struggle with in relation to myself. Now Josef was special and interacting and caring for him each day placed me so close to goodness and beauty. Tending my garden and loving my cats creates a world of harmony, kindness and love. It is so difficult when it is shattered.Thank you so much for your prayers Jan x

  2. I’m so sorry for your loss Karen. When my German Shepard ‘Jaya’ left her body I saw her for a month out of the corner of my eye sitting in the back seat of my van. My rotti Mirabai remained out of body in my house for some weeks after she passed. After I told her that I would be fine and released her she left…..we were inseparable. Thankfully the pain is released eventually and we go on with out life always the more tender for having loved them and having been loved by them. Many blessings, Gretchen

    • I am so sorry for your loss too Gretchen. Your words convey the same kind of bond with Jaya and Mirabai as I have had with my cats. It is a deep connection. I don’t know quite how it happens but I wonder if it is based on not just actions but thoughts. I have such a deep love, respect and acceptance of my animal friends. I think they must feel that. I can never understand people who feel that what I describe is not possible with cats. I think those people don’t tune into the same kind of frequencies of connection.
      My life has been defined by the animals I have loved and I can think of no better way to live it. The sadness would not exist had there not been real love at the heart of things. x

  3. Oh no – so sorry for this second loss in such a relatively short time. It is astonishing what an impact they have on our lives and how much we miss them when they are gone. Hold on to your lovely memories , but don’t forget to start making some more good memories too.

    • I had 3 cats when I started my blog, Otto, Ossie and Josef. They are now all gone. I am so sad, but so thankful that I knew them all. They brought me so much joy.
      Now it will be time to see what new cats come into my life. I know one thing, I do not want to be without cats 🙂

      • I’m sure some new feline friends will appear one way or another. There are so many poor unwanted kitties needing good homes and I’m sure that you will be ready to provide for one or two of them sooner or later… when the time is right.

  4. So sorry dear Karen. I too am a cat lady (of course!), and so know just how you feel. I lost my cat Morgan 4 years ago, and even though he was 20, I missed him very much, and miss him still. The joy of a new crazy young furry lady in my life (even though she is very naughty) is quite wonderful though. Luna has just hurtled into the room, right on cue! Lots of love xxx

    • Ah…another thing we share in common, which is nice. But the sadness is so challenging. Morgan must have been a fine boy and a terrible loss for you. Now you have Luna. I am so pleased, for a new cat does bring such joy. I am looking out for two cats who need a loving home with a lady who is going to be wearing a collection of handmade, ditsy dresses this summer 🙂 I hope they will arrive when I am sewing them. Because, as you well know, all stitching is better if a cat is close by. x x x

  5. this story and the photos are really moving, dear Karen. My dear Josef was loved even in the internet by me a lot, too. Maybe he loved Ossie so much that we wanted to follow him into cat-heaven where now they are re-united and tell each other little stories about the wonderful and loving life they had in your house. Much success in finding new cats, dear Karen, kind regards Mitza

    • Josef had a little kiss from Mitza most days. Thank you so much for loving him. I am looking for new cats, but there are so many who need a home and they all deserve love. I wish I could help more. x x

  6. How desperately sad to lose your precious friend, I totally empathise and am sending huge love and hugs. Bless you xx

  7. Oh, my dear. I am so sorry to hear. Such a sad outcome. I remember when we lost our dear pet companion and I know this is a tough time. I feel for you. Sending you a warm and gentle hug from Ontario.

  8. I am so sad to read of the loss of your Josef, Karen. My heart goes out to you. I hope you find peace and comfort in good memories, although I know that’s never enough. I miss my own lost kitties so much. Many hugs.

    • Like you, I still miss all the cats I have loved. I have 6 buried in my garden now. Josef was a gentle, loving boy- the last remaining cat of 3. He seemed to slowly take on his brothers ways until there were just the two of us.
      In a world where people get rid of unwanted pets on the internet when they want the next fashionable breed, or where people move away leaving their pets behind I feel that one of the most valuable things I have done in my life is to treat my animals with love. But it seems so little….I can only help so few.
      Thank you for taking the time to write to me, it means so much. x

  9. Oh Karen, I am so sorry for your loss of Josef. I know exactly what it is like when a cat loses a sibling. I’m writing this with my beloved old cat on my lap. Her brother passed away last year and she is a different animal now. Thinking of you.

    • Thank you so much Su. We grow older with our cat family and it is so painful when they lose a sibling and we lose a friend. I never get any better at dealing with this. In fact, I think it gets harder.
      Thank you for your thoughts and please send my love to your cat.

      • Thank you Karen. I think you are right. When our lovely Sirrus got sick last year, both my partner and son were out of town and I had to cope alone. I’m so grateful for the kindness and understanding of our vet and his nurse, because I was a complete wreck.

  10. Dear Karen I am so sorry to hear that you lost your beautiful Joseph. He was a truly lucky boy in having a mum like you who looked after him and loved him so dearly. (I have lost 3 beautiful Golden Retrievers who were my world, my babies, and a cat that I rescued with a huge amount of problems, but, I loved him and he came into my world when I needed him most. I feel very sad that you have had another loss within such a short time and that is just how it happened to me. One minute I had my beautiful Saphee and Aimee and then they passed within a year of each other and I was beside myself with grief and pain. Now I look at their beautiful pictures beside my armchair and smile when I remember the wonderful life and times we had together. My heart is with you at this awful and difficult time. Love from Tina X Sent from my iPad


    • Dear Tina, I am so, so sorry for your loss too. What a difficult and heartbreaking time that must have been. My cats are part of a perfect little world which I try to create in my home and garden. And there really has not been any bad in my animals, just gentle, caring love. And they are such a comfort when there are difficult days. I am going out into the garden to dig. Sending love to you,
      Karen x

  11. Oh, Karen–this is so awful. I am so sorry. The suddenness and the fact it happened so soon after losing Ossie, that all makes it even worse than it would’ve been anyway. This sorrow is the price we pay for the years of joy and comfort they give us, I guess. I’m happy to hear that you will be on the lookout for more cats to share your home–I cannot imagine you without furry friends.

    • I really did not see this coming Kerry. I had just paid for Josef to have extensive blood tests and they all came back clear. He was playful, happy, jumping up onto the tops of massive cupboards and looked so well. Because there was no warning I feel that he has been taken from the house. Here one minute, gone the next. But this kind of thing happens all the time, every minute of the day, all over the world. People lose partners and animals and we are never ready. Being ready would mean that we were living in perpetual fear.And every day with all my cats has been a day of joy.
      I am planting out Crimson Flowered Broad Beans and spreading well rotted manure. It helps to be doing something earthy and grounded.
      I am talking to a cat charity about two 3 year old cats. One was brutally attacked and has lost an eye, the other was found starving and emaciated. One is tabby, the other has seal point ears and is thought to have had a Rag Doll parent. They need special care, but because they are timid, the charity only want to send me video footage not go to see them. It all feels a little difficult.

  12. I just checked my reader today and read that you lost Josef. I am so sorry for your loss. it is obvious to those who follow your blog that your three boys were cherished by you and had a wonderful life with you.
    I am so happy to hear that you might have found 2 cats with special needs that needs. They sound perfect for you. They need some one special to love them. There is no one better than you. Keep us informed what happens.

  13. 😦 Oh Karen, I am sooo sorry. I have been away from my computer and noticed you stopped by. I am so so sorry for your loss. My heart breaks for you, for I know the love of an animal. I have never lost a cat ( we have 3 right now) but have lost many dogs over the years and I know that horrible ache. You hear them and see them out of the corner of your eye even months after they pass. I still swear I hear Buddy my german shepard/husky mix that passed in 2009 barking. It is usually the germanshepard across the street ,but I swear it is him at that moment. I also see punk out of the corner of my eye in the garden.
    Punk and Buddy were old and lived a long life, but Schatze was taken two years ago July 29th, I rememer the day as if it were yesterday. As I type it brings tears to my eyes.She was a pit bull rescue my daughter brought home under her coat when she was 16. I was so mad at the time, but she became my “baby girl” my nickname for her all the time.
    She went quickly too without any warning. I took her into the vet one day since I heard her grunt jumping off the couch one day. I also noticed she did not want to play as much. We took her in and they said she had cancer all over her body which meant she was dying and it was a kind they could do nothing for…her body was shutting down. I cried so much, and had to let her go. My heart goes out to you…
    I remember your kind words when I lost punk March 2015….my heart breaks for you…I know there is nothing I can say to take away your sadness….but– remember our pets are waiting for us over the rainbow bridge:-)

    Rainbow Bridge-

    Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.
    When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

    All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

    They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

    You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

    Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together….

    Author unknown…

    • Dear, dear Robbie. When I first read your message I just wept. I wept not just for Josef, but for all the animals I have lost and for the love you had for Punk, for your ‘baby girl’. Most times, these animals creep into our hearts and the love for them becomes so big that it is as if we merge with them. I am heartbroken to have lost him and to have had to bury another friend.
      But your words and your kindness and the fact that you know how this feels means so much to me. Your sympathy winged its ways across the miles and gave my an arm to lean on.
      Seeing all my cats again when we go over the rainbow bridge is something I really hope can happen
      Karen x

      • Hi Karen-just stopped by to check and see how you are doing this week. I know it does not pass quickly or go away, but wanted you to know…you are in my thoughts. I only have Chance now. I do feel the other dogs around and I “swear” I see them out of the corner of my eye in the garden or in the house…..just wanted you to know, you were in my thoughts today:-)

      • I have just worked and worked and worked in the garden. I miss all my cats and there are times when being an adult is not much fun. I suppose really I just want my animals to stay forever, the way a child would see it. I do have new cats now and that has not been plain sailing. I hope to post about that soon. I have some lovely photos 🙂
        I am so glad that the spirit of your other beloved dogs live on. They would never, ever have wanted to leave you.
        I have just posted on my blog- the first time since Easter when I wrote about Josef. 😦
        Hope we catch up soon. It meant so much that whilst you were in your beautiful garden that I can share a little of that time too. Thanks for the kind thoughts

  14. Hi Karen-I thought of you when we put down our black cat that looked like your Josef today….I never had to put a cat down and remember how you did it last year. I’ve had to put dogs to sleep but never a cat. I had no idea how hard it would be when they told me her 14 yr old body just could not go on….she had lost half her weight in a few weeks. It was startling, and then I remember you losing a lovely black cat, too (she had same white markings on her chest….. Wow, I had no idea how “bugga boo”( that was her name) being put to sleep would deeply sadden me.

    I know a weird name, my daughter gave it to her when she rescued her back in High School…..I looked for your blog tonight as I was checking my blog and had a hard time finding it. I finally did and just wanted to say; I honestly know how sad you felt ( now) when you lost your cat- Josef:-( I had no idea a cat was as hard as a dog. Cats are so independent, aloft and you just don’t realize how they are a part of your life. They are not as demanding as a dog. They take care of themselves and do come and snuggle but keep to themselves. I had no idea……I have two other cats, so it does help…just wanted to stop by and say hi:-) Hope you are doing well with your new garden:-)

  15. Oh Robbie, I so feel your pain and am so very saddened by your heartbreaking news. So many times we seem to find ourselves in this place of loss and bewilderment. And it such a terribly difficult thing to have to take responsibility for making the decision to end a little animal’s life. You must feel so very shocked and distressed. It is such a weight to shoulder. I have had to do it for so many of my cats…Sergei, Nina, Grey Cat, Otto, and Ossie. Josef who sounds very similar to Bugga-Boo, died at the vets.
    My experience and connection with my cats has been very deep. I know other friends who have dogs and where the cats just seem to come and go and that is as far as it goes. But all mine have come to share my life and have needed to do that. When I had Ossie and Josef, Ossie was always a favourite. But when Ossie died Josef relied on me to replace his brother and cried out until he found me and safety on a daily basis.
    I am so very sorry my dear friend that you are suffering another loss. It sometimes feels that it never ends.
    Josef died last Easter and I have not written on my blog since then. I took on 3 rescue cats who had been very cruelly treated. Dora was kicked and lost an eye because of it, Daisy was found half starved, as was Harry. They have been a huge challenge. Daisy suffers from terrible allergies and excema and at one point ripped off much of her fur. Friends are mystified by my desire to take on such timid and difficult animals, but if I did not do it then who would care for them?
    Sorry to go on. I do remember what my vet said when, like you, I had to decide to have Nina put to sleep. She was thin, like Bugga-Boo. And he said to me “Karen, it is time”. It is so hard to make such a decision. But it was the last thing you could do to care for her and it was an act of love to prevent her suffering. But why do all the right actions feel so bad?
    I send you love and look forward to visiting your blog soon. It is a little piece of heaven.
    Karen X

  16. awww..thank you. You are such a giving soul. To take in new cats with health issues. You are amazing!!! I know what you mean about dog owners with cats. I thought that way about my cats at first, but over the years that has changed; they find me at different times of the days, and it is our special time. Bugga boo was at night. I would wake up during the night and she would have her nose near my face and purring. She was a complicated cat. She was very independent during the day and never came and sat in my lap( sometimes but not daily), but at night she was always sleeping next to me. I noticed she was not well when she stopped coming to my bed at night. The other two cats find me during the day. Our gray cat Simon comes whenever I sit down he curls up in my lap and cuddles. September ( born in September -my daughter named her-lol) sleeps on my back and legs at night. She stays with me all night rolling when I roll-lol. Bugga was a cat that would rub up against me and climb in my lap when watching tv if she FELT LIKE IT!! Yep, she had the attitude.

    I Noticed her severe weight loss one day, and after that, she kept letting me pick her up and hug her while carrying her around during the day. I believe It was her saying good-by to me. I knew when we took her to the vet she would be put to sleep that day……she had that look in her eyes my old dog buddy had in 2009. The look you need to “do something” …..( long sigh)…I did not realize I would cry as much as I did

    I am so glad you got new cats. I can’t imagine life without animals, and when I no longer have the other two, I will find new cats that need homes. I also have Chance ( our last dog of the five), and he will be 12 this year. I know when he passes, I will have another dog…it is so worth the years we have them to suffer the good-bye for they bring so much to our lives! Thank you Karen, you are a GEM!!!

    • Hello dear Robbie, I am just writing to let you know I have just written on my blog again. I have not been able to do that since Josef died. Well, it was not just his death which was the problem, it was a whole pile of things including the end of my 35 year old marriage, the loss of my business, then the deaths of my cats Ossie, Otto and Josef. It was all too much.
      But I am back now! I have changed my blog a little to reflect the fact that I now sell flowers from my home. A heavenly thing as you can imagine!
      I am afraid to ask, but do you still have CHANCE? You said he was 12 last time we spoke.
      I send you much love and can’t wait to see your blog again. Karen x x

      • Good Morning Karen from USA!
        Yes, I have Chance. He is snoring away behind me. I took him to the vet a few months ago and he is doing just fine. He is getting older but hanging in there and I enjoy each day I get to spend with him. Pets are such a part of our life. He is my best friend:-)
        I am so sorry about your marriage of 35 yrs. The grief must be unbearable. I’ve been married for 37 yrs, so I understand. That is a long time these days to be married! To lose your business, too. Karen, I truly and sorry.
        I”ve been away from my blog taking care of parents and a grand child. Life is just getting busy again when I thought it would be slowing down.
        Selling flowers, now that is a healing way to life your spirits! I can’t think of a better way to heal from life’s hardships:-)
        Much love from Quad Cities Illinois..heading over to read your blog post. I have a free morning here:-)

      • There are many blogs featuring flowers, vegetables and growing, but for me it is yours which captures the beauty and total essence of what I love about gardening. I hope you have time to do what I know you love whilst doing the important family caring as well.
        I am so pleased about Chance. Gardening with our family animal friends is just heaven.
        You are right about the difficulties of coping after the breakdown of a long marriage. If I had been thirty when it happened I might have coped better.
        But I am loving the peace and the flowers and I am stitching little linen bags with appliqué flowers. It’s very lovely……x

  17. I grew up on a large farm in South Texas and have had at least one of every pet on the household pet list so I should be well adjusted to losing our little ones. I’m not. It’s never easy, and time doesn’t always help depending on how long our pet was with us and how special the bond was that developed over the years. Even though it’s been 11 months since Josef left, I’m still sending you positive thoughts, good vibrations, and lots of hugs from here in San Diego.

    • Bless you for your kind and caring words.
      Something happened to me with Josef’s death. It felt like the end of the line for me. It was just one loss too many. In the space of a few years my marriage of 35 years ended, I lost my business and then all 3 of my cats died. It may sound over the top but it was too much loss.
      Like you, I am not more used to loss as a result of my experience of it, but am even less able to cope with it now.
      Still, I am back on my blog and will catch up with you soon. Fingers crossed that all is well with you and those you love. Karen x

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