Welcome to Gumbo's Rainbow Bridge Memorial Residency
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Memories of Gumbo
Two days ago was the third anniversary of the day I lost you, Gumbo. I've been thinking so much about you these last couple weeks, remembering all of the wonderful days I was blessed enough to spend with you. I can't believe it's been three years....some days it feels like just yesterday you were curled up sleeping on my chest and showering me with all the love you had to give. I still miss you more than I can put into words, and the grief is overwhelming some days. Things got a lot worse at the start of this year, when I suddenly lost my Lily bear too. Almost the same situation as when I lost you....it was nearly too much to bear having lost both of you, so young & full of life and love. I'm still healing, and it will probably be a lifelong process, but I find comfort in knowing that the two of you can at least be together. I am sure y'all have met and are having the best time playing together, because both of you were crazy and ornery as could be :) Please know that even as time passes, you will always be in my heart. Through the laughter and the tears, I will always hold onto the memory of you and the joy & love that you brought me at a time in my life that I needed it most. I love you and miss you, my baby, and I wish more than anything that I could hold you in my arms just one more time. One day <3

Yesterday marked two years since I lost you my sweet boy. I've been thinking a lot about you, and I continue to miss you every day. I hope you are enjoying your time at the Bridge, playing and having fun with all your friends. You deserve nothing but the absolute best, and I know that God is giving you that up in heaven. This is what comforts me and brings me hope when I become filled with sadness, wishing more than anything I could have you back. Sometimes that sadness is consuming, and it's hard to have hope, but in my heart, I trust that God is keeping you safe and happy. Know that I love you and miss you every day, and I look forward to the day that we will meet again in heaven. <3

Today is one of the first days in a while that I've visited, Gumbo. I wish I had the strength to visit more often...but even almost 2 years later, it still hurts so much. I miss you every day, and I think of you all the time. Your pictures are still all over the house, and I continue to tell stories of you to everyone I know. Even though you were with me for only a short time, you were so ornery that I could tell silly stories about you for days on end! I still sometimes cry when I think of you, but I've come across more instances of smiling and laughing when I remember you and our happy times together. Bacchus, Benny, and Lily are more than settled now, and certainly are all sorts of crazy....they could probably give you a run for your money with destruction of my belongings, but I'm not sure anyone could beat you there :P I wish so much that you could meet them and play with them. I hope that you're having a wonderful time at the Bridge, and playing with lots of other friends. I hope you've already met Delly, Elisha's kitty. She was another kitten, about your age, who was lost suddenly to a terrible sickness. I just know God took her straight to you, so you could take care of her as the others took such good care of you when you arrived. I miss you and love you more than words could ever express, Gumbo. Please remember to visit me in my dreams <3

My dearest Gumbo baby...it's been 2 months since I've posted anything on your memorial page. I've thought 100 times about stopping in to visit, but every time it just feels too hard to relive the pain of losing you. The last few days, I've been thinking a lot about you. My life has had a lot of changes in the last 3 months, and it hurts knowing that you haven't been able to be a part of them. I've introduced three new furry friends into my life - my puppy, Lily, and my two new kittens, Benny and Bacchus. It took some time to be able to open up my heart to new pets, but I thought about how much my love for you gave both of us so much joy, and I know you would want me to share my love with more furbabies who need a home filled with love and compassion. I still think about you all the time, though. They have certainly claimed a place in my heart, but they definitely have not replaced you or the space I continue to hold in my heart for you. I want you to know how much I still love you. It's hard for me to visit nowadays, and I know I need to stop avoiding the pain. No matter what, you are never forgotten. My loss of you is indeed the toughest loss I've ever experienced, and I will never forget the immense impact you had at one of the scariest, loneliest times in my life. You certainly saved me, Gumbo bear, and without you, I know I wouldn't be where I am today. I can't believe it's almost been 3 months - crazy how time flies. I hope you're having an incredible time up at the bridge playing with your furfriends. I know you have some great caretakers up there to keep you safe until we meet again someday. I love you baby.

Merry Christmas my sweet Gumbo bear. Today was a very hard day. I am away from my family and my friends, and on top of it you were not here with me as I was so looking forward to only a few weeks ago....it was just 3 weeks ago today that I lost you so suddenly, although it feels like a lifetime with how slowly the time has dragged on. While you were not physically with me today, your presence was felt tremendously in my home and in my heart. And I actually held a little Christmas feast for the stray neighborhood kitties this morning in your honor....I kept looking up at my door from the outside at the spot where you used to lay in the sunlight. Seeing it empty made me feel a little broken, but I continued to remind myself that your spirit continues to stay with me, and your love still fills my heart. Tonight has been especially difficult, because I got news that my dad is in the hospital for very bad stomach pains currently without a definitive cause. I am scared and feeling very alone, and I wish at this moment that I could be holding you in my arms and feeling your comfort. That always helped me when I was sad, lonely, or afraid. The pain of missing you is unbearable some days, but I am starting to move toward acceptance. I know it will happen eventually. If you could put in a good word with the Big Guy Upstairs and send some extra prayers for my dad, you know it would be much appreciated. I know you loved him so very much too - after all, he knew you long before I did and brought you into my life. He gave me one of the most incredible presents I ever received, and I am beyond grateful to him for that. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas in heaven, baby boo. Know that I love you so very very much, and miss you with all of my heart. Merry Christmas my dearest Gumbo. I hope to see you in my dreams soon <3

It's been a little over two weeks now since you passed, boo bear. The last couple of days have been especially hard, filled with a lot of sorrow, a lot of tears. I finally held a memorial for you tonight and attended the Monday night candlelight ceremony...I'd been putting it off because it made the whole thing feel too real. I finally made myself do it, to honor you, and help myself continue to move through my grief. I cried so many tears for you Gumbo bear, and finally was able to say to you what I wish I could've said before you died. With the comfort and understanding of the others in the Rainbow Bridge Community at the ceremony mourning their own furbabies, and the comfort and peace of God with me, I allowed myself to sit and mourn for you, but also feel joy for you, as you are now in such a beautiful place. I feel a little more at ease now...I feel your presence with me so tremendously, and I know you are with me. During the entire memorial I held for you, it stormed. Rain poured, lightning struck, thunder sounded. It was very fitting for how I felt. After 2 hours of spending time honoring you, though, I brought the memorial to a close and noticed the rain had stopped. I opened my back door, saw clearer night skies, and all of a sudden, one big lightning flash shined in the sky...somehow, I knew that was you, sending your love to me. I love you Gumbo baby. Forever in my heart.

It's been one week since you passed, my sweet Gumbo baby. Being in this house alone is brutal - if I'm not asleep, I'm usually just crying as I look at pictures of you. I've been told it will eventually start to feel easier - that I will smile more than cry when I remember our times together. I think one of the hardest things is knowing that I have to wake up on Christmas morning a few short weeks from now and look around waiting for you to jump up on my bed and spend the day with me. Looking at your empty stocking and knowing you'll never get to open all of the little kitty presents I was going to get you. You never even got to celebrate a Christmas in your short little life. I've been hanging out with the stray kitties in my neighborhood...I walked outside today and about 5 of them walked over toward me. I think they can see my pain, as silly as that sounds. I hope it's okay that I gave them some of your food. It's hard to look at it sitting there, going uneaten. I know you'd be okay knowing I'm spreading some joy to kitties without a home like you had.

"Gumbo" (aka "Bubby Boo" and "Gumbo Kitty") was the first pet I ever had the privilege of calling my own. I had moved to New Orleans in June of 2015, and found myself feeling very lonely living in a new apartment all by myself. I decided I needed a cat, and nothing was going to stop me. It just so happened that my father, the veterinarian, had a cute little orange and white kitten up for adoption at his clinic. My dad loved him and knew that I would too. On July 26th, I had the honor of taking my new furbaby, only about 3 months old, home to New Orleans after a weekend visiting Ohio for a wedding. The night before I picked him up was an incredibly tough night, and I felt like I was falling apart when I picked him up and headed to the airport in my brother's car. Gumbo's little voice could be heard for almost the entire trip to the airport, but he was completely silent riding on the planes with me. He just fell asleep all curled up in his little carrier under the seat. When he arrived to his new forever home, I let him explore for a while. It didn't take long for me to see that he was one of the most playful kittens in the world. Not only that, he was the snuggliest kitty in the world. He licked me incessantly and was quite the biter as well, but I didn't even care. For the next 4 months of my life, Gumbo lit up my world like you wouldn't believe.

I was an unpaid intern with a very tough job that involved being frequently reminded how much the world sucks sometimes. And coming home to my Gumbo, rarely anywhere besides waiting right by the door to greet me, brought a smile to my face every single day, as I felt my heart fill with a warmth I'd never before experienced. Before doing anything else, I would plop down on my couch as my kitten jumped up on my lap and walked all over me, so excited to have someone to bug. My heart broke every time I walked out the door because I could tell he wanted to either come with me or have me stay right there with him. And whenever I had visitors, man was he over the moon! And even my friends who historically hated cats loved the crap out of this kitten - nobody could not like him, because his love was so big, and he was so ready to give it to everyone around him. His cuddles were to die for, and if you ever laid down on the couch, you damn well better expect him to be on your chest or neck, or curled up right in the nook of your arm. He was incredibly needy, and I loved that about him - he couldn't stand to be in a different room than me at any point in time, and it was hilarious watching him navigate my apartment in such a way that he never had to be! This cat could climb like you wouldn't believe. And for a cat without front claws, I was more than amazed at his ability to climb up walls and hang upside down from my headboard, my mirror, and any arm he could grab onto. His level of energy was greater than I'll ever hope to have, and he could jump literally up to 5 feet in the air! He would chase lasers for hours, and would run after literally anything your threw for him. He was so ornery. Oh, and I rarely was able to keep him out when I had food...he often spent my meals hanging out in the bathroom, because otherwise half of my meal would be eaten before I even sat down! I definitely snuck him some food every now and then, especially french fries. I certainly don't regret that now.

On Saturday, November 28th, 2015, I dropped my little baby off at Abadie Veterinary Hospital to board, because I was leaving to visit Ohio for about 10 days early that Monday morning. I barely got to say goodbye as I handed him off to the receptionist and watched her walk away holding him - little did I know that was the last time I would ever see my baby Gumbo. I remember crying as I got in my car, feeling guilty as hell for leaving him for so long. My heart already ached because I missed him so much. Those next two nights sleeping in my house were the loneliest nights I'd had in a very long time. But I was comforted by the thought that we'd be reunited less than 2 weeks from that day. That's why the call I received on Friday, December 4th worried me so much. They told me my baby had been throwing up some blood, and they wanted to do bloodwork to check and see if everything was okay. When they called me the next time, his bloodwork was fine, but they worried that maybe he had gotten into rat poison. I thought back to a little over a week before when he'd managed to escape my home during 2 of the scariest hours of my life, and told them it was possible. They said they were going to get him started on fluids and start the treatment, because if that was it, then they would see improvements within 1 to 2 days. Not 15 minutes later, I received the worst phone call of my life...one that I will never forget. The vet told me they had taken my baby Gumbo out of the cage to put in an IV catheter, and my poor baby coded right there on the table. It was sudden, and they spent 10 minutes giving my baby CPR trying to save him, but he was unable to be revived; they're still not entirely sure what happened, but think he may have had some type of blood disorder that no one could've known about. At not even 8 months of age, my baby was gone forever. I cannot put into words the pain my heart feels as I write these words and face the reality that my furbaby is gone forever, and I did not get a chance to say goodbye.

This is one of the toughest losses I have ever experienced, as Gumbo was a vital part of my life. My little bubby saved me in many different ways, and the emptiness I feel in my heart is one I know only other pet owners who have lost their furbabies could ever understand. My home feels empty without Gumbo - his little Christmas stocking still hangs on my fireplace, and his basket of toys still sits in my living room. The giraffe pillow pet he claimed as his own early on, the place he so loved to sleep every night, still sits on my bed, empty. As I spend my time facing this intense grief, I hope that this memorial home for my baby Gumbo will help bring me some comfort, and remind me that he is so very happy where he is now. I know that one day, my Gumbo baby and I will be reunited in heaven, but until then, his beautiful soul will live on in my memory of him. I am forever grateful for the unconditional love Gumbo gave to me at a time in my life I needed it the most, and even though his time on earth was so short, his presence was big enough to hold a place in my heart forever.

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