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Two empty places round the dinner table

Jack Morley, 23 Jan 04 002

It is a time of great change in the Seymour household this weekend following the loss of two of its residents. The first came today when we had a shock following the unexpected death of our beloved cat Jack Morley.

Jack – named on a whim by my son James, a good pirate’s name – was found lying in our front garden in a very distressed state this morning. He had the most piercing cry and kept reaching out with his front paws, but was unable to stand. His back legs appeared injured and we wondered if he had been hit by a car or fallen from the tree under which he was lying.

After an emergency call to the vet, who kindly opened up early and monitored his condition in their hospital, his condition sadly deteriorated. He suffered terrible spasms, making a terrifying howling cry, his mouth frothing. It is believed he had an embolism which had paralysed his back legs.

My two sons were greatly upset by this and tears were shed by us all. We had been hoping to take him home later in the day. We so wanted to nurse him back to good health. Unfortunately, we had no choice but to agree that he should be put out of his misery, we couldn’t bear to see him in such pain.

Jack used to sit on a chair around the dinner table like he was waiting to  be served too. He loved joining us at meal times and would just look on as we chatted around him.

In fact, Jack was a stray who adopted us. He just suddenly turned up on our doorstep one day. As we have a driveway, we couldn’t work out why he came to us, or from where. We were unable to locate his owners.

A few days later, I found him sitting on the doorstep next to a toad who was gawping away. It seemed very symbolic – a black cat and a toad together – so we decided it was meant to be. And Jack joined our household.

We all loved him very much; he was very placid and could purr for England. David wants me to add that he was "feisty and intelligent too". A pet really adds so much extra love to a household.

Jack would sit at the dinner table next to David, who is tomorrow leaving home on his first step towards independence and adulthood. We are taking him to his university and he is so looking forward to it. I am dreading the empty nest syndrome, but that’s the price of a mother’s love. I think James will miss him very much too as it will now make him an only child, and they did enjoy each other’s company.

My pride in David’s achievements and the bright future I know he has ahead of him makes me feel my job is done. David, who is now packing his bags, is glad he was here for Jack’s last day.

My table is going to be so empty ….



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