Wednesday, August 08, 2012

21 Years of Grace

Gunther on Nonie's couch

Yesterday my cat of 21 years died in his sleep in my studio. Doug and I knew for the past 3 years that he was declining but the past 2 days showed signs of his final exit. I'd been on pins and needles for the past year as he'd had a few seizures. Every vet visit ended with "say your goodbyes" and I'd leave all weepy. But Gunther held on patiently and I never pushed him into anything. He was the most gracious and calm animal I have ever known.

Inga Meets Gunther
 Through all the changes he and I have gone through together, he's been my rock. The last big one was introducing Inga to the household. Gunther was a real champ.
Gunther and my niece Mia
 I'd gotten him from a friend out in ABQ, NM in 1992 when he was just a year. She rescued him from the pound and waited for someone to adopt him. After I'd just lost my cat Gabby, that someone was me.
Gunther and Olaf
 After Tommy died, I decided to get another kitten - Olaf. After a few weeks, they learned to love each other.
Yesterday Anton and I went to a playdate but before leaving, I bent to give Gunther a kiss and thanked him and told him I loved him. He had the faintest purr. I knew he was in the process of dying and I knew he'd do it beautifully. He was just so tired. For months I'd prayed that I'd never have to take him to the vet to put him down. I wanted him to go in his own time. So I just gave him his space and let him take the lead.
Sharing a chair
Of all the animals I've had thus far - he has been the most steadying, grounding, and optimistically stubborn of them all.

He was perfect. I will miss him. We take him up to Rabun Gap today to bury him. I will never forget Gunther's lesson to me. Grace, grace, grace. He practiced and upheld an Unshakable Standard of Grace.


Ulrika said...

I am new to your blog and just want to say how very sorry I am for your loss. Gunther seems to have been a great little cat and you describe him with such affection. I have two wonderful cats of my own and I dread the day when they are gone. Sending some love from across the Atlantic.

Anne Elser said...

You are so kind to send support, Ulrika. Thank you!