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Thank you all SO much for your kind words, thoughts, and prayers. I felt them. I don't think I could have gotten through this weekend at all if it hadn't been for the Pet Lovers. You have no idea how much any of your words mean to me.

Friday night was like a death march. Gracie couldn't move or breathe, DBF and I just sat around wringing our hands. I was convinced she wouldn't even make it to her appointment today.

Her whole body had turned yellowish, her eyes pink, and her breath and the rest of her body gave off an alcoholic stench. The vet said that she had something kidney failure something.

We came home. Joel went out back and dug a grave. I called the Dekalb Humane Society, where we had found Gracie. I was expecting an answering machine (it was like 8 at night) but not only did someone answer, Gracie's foster mom answered. I told her Gracie was diagnosed with FIP and was very sick, and that we had an appointment for 11am tomorrow. She just burst into tears. I had just sent her a christmas card with pictures of a happy Gracie, but didn't mention how sick she always was. I stayed on the phone to comfort the woman while she sobbed and sobbed. She was so nice. She sounded like my grandma in age, but I have no idea. She thanked me for letting her know, and promised to contact all of Gracie's sisters and let them know. The foster mom gave me comfort.

We forced ourselves to watch tv to pass the time. Around 1 or 2, we decided to try bed, and put Gracie in bed with us. She crawled all the way down by our toes, which made DBF cry because he was convinced in his heavy sleeper state he would crush her.

No one slept very well last night. I had a dream that I entered Gracie in a cat show, and the show started at 11am. But I was running behind, so we got there at 11:05. But by then the show had started, and they wouldn't let Gracie in. I woke up crying.

Around 8am or so, Gracie hopped off the bed. Energy! Yes! I thought. She limped over to the furnace crate thing (we have an old house, the heat comes out of crate vent things in the floor) and went to the bathroom. I think she thought it was her litter box. Joel got up to clean it out, and I picked her up and walked her around the house.

I booted up the computer, logged onto the Fool, and found the "Gracie's test results" post. As I held Gracie, I told her the names of every animal to look for when she got to Rainbow Bridge. Joel's granddaddy is there, and I told her all I knew about Annie. I showed her her picture from the website Kezz made, but I told her not to look for anyone in a wheelchair, because I'm pretty sure Annie will be walking around. Then I read her the list of pets she could look for- Ashli, Mewsetta, Bungle the wonder cat, all of them. Her little ears perked up, and I'm sure that helped her to know that she would have some friends over there too.

Then I set her in her igloo bed while I got dressed, and then DBF and I spent the next two hours staring at her, petting her, saying little prayers, and crying. And then it was 11:00. It was time to go.

The vet took Gracie to the back to sedate her, and when she came back she was wrapped up like a baby in a towel. All the pain was gone from her, and through her wheezes she was actually purring! :) We stroked her cheeks for a bit and hugged each other. Then the vet brought in a vet tech, and we put Gracie limply on the counter. The tech found a vein in her arm, and injected the drugs while Joel and I stroked her face and body. Gracie looked up at me one last time, and I said, "Goodnight Gracie! We'll see you soon."

And then the vet listen for her heartbeat and pronounced her dead. The vet said, "you did the right thing," and I burst into loud, room shaking sobs. They took her to the back to wrap her up in plastic and a blue sheet, and gave her to us to take home. She was so heavy all wrapped up like that. We put her in a box, and I put some of her favorite toys in there. Her fluff of fur mouse, her pink soccer ball. Her favorite blue string. She loved that string.

We took her out back to where Joel had dug the grave, and put her to rest. I sprinked a packet of catnip on top of the grave, in case she got out and wanted to have some fun. I sprinkled lavender seeds as well. Joel had found a really big rock to mark the grave. I threw down some flowers- two red roses and one white one. We said a few prayers, read psalms 23.

And then it was over. We went out for lunch and watched basketball on the big screen (Joel watched, I tried to think of anything but Gracie). We decided we didn't want to come home, so we left the burrito joint and went to the movies. We watched movies from 3 in the afternoon until 9:30 at night. The movies helped so much, and then we went to a light dinner of sushi. At sushi we discussed how it felt like a weight had been lifted. We didn't have to worry about why Gracie's meds weren't working, or if she was entirely too lonely and we needed to get her a friend or take her to kitty day care. She was in a better place.

I miss her so much. I know she is in a better place, it will just take me awhile to accept that.I calculated costs, and in the 3 months that we had Gracie, we spent over $1,000 on her. I would have spent another grand and not batted an eye if it would have saved her. But she was in so much pain toward the end that I felt like taking her for a second opinion (when the possibility of it being anything else was slim to nil) would be inhumane.

Coming home was the worst, I expected to see her sitting by the door. Or on the heating grate. Or in the kitchen? But she was nowhere here. She is at the rainbow bridge, waiting for me. Waiting for us all.

To say thank you to you all is a severe understatement of my appreciation of all that you guys have done to comfort me. But know that when I say it, I mean that and the whole world. Pet Lovers, you are now my family.

Thank you.

Angela, Joel, (Gracie)

(Deannda, I got your VM. You're wonderful. Thank you)
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