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 ….


  1. When my boy, Ace, dies, I will be shattered…

    I’m so sorry for your loss.

  2. My sat nav broke down en route to Hull, it was a real let down. We somehow managed to find The Lawns, which is David’s halls of residence. I made a little video of the occasion his arrival there. David found it annoying, but it was an historic occasion:

    My sister knows of someone with a fluffy white kitten which needs a good home. This kitten is particularly special because she tells me it can swim, it is the only breed of cat that can swim. Have you heard of such a thing? Or is someone winding her up?

  3. I am SO sorry for your family’s loss, Ellee. A pet really becomes a member of the family and it’s a real shock when they die. And the decision to have them put down is always a very difficult one. I cried for days the two times I had to have my beloved dogs put down. Mourn well, Ellee. And I can just imagine how proud you are of your David, heading out towards his own real independence.

  4. Sorry to hear of you cat’s death Ellee. He was a handsome fellow

  5. Oh, Ellee, a double whammy for you. I’m so sorry to hear about your cat but you made the correct decision as you know.

    But all animal lovers know your pet is like your child and it is a very difficult thing to lose him in this way.

    You are right about David, your job in some aspects is done although I am sure you think he is too young to go off on his own. My two did not go off until they went to graduate school but it was no easier then either.

    My thoughts are with you Ellee. Take care.

  6. Dear Ellee: I hurt just reading this. Please know my thoughts are with you. Losing a pet is a loss and that hurts! (((HUGS)))!

  7. I am very sorry to hear about Jack Morley. We lost our cat last October and I still miss her. The house doesn’t feel the same without her and I still find myself talking to my bag – mistaking it for her when I leave it on the floor.

    My cat was born in 1996 when England played Germany in some football thing or other. We agreed to name the kittens (there were 3) after the goal scorers. The kitten we kept got lucky as Alan Shearer scored first – so Shearer she was. The second kitten was less lucky as Stefan Kuntz scored next for Germany – Kuntz is not the greatest name to shout loudly into the darkness!! There were no more goals so the third was named Penalty Shoot Out. All the kittens are now dead sadly.

    I hope everything goes well for your son and that you do not miss him too much.

  8. so sorry about your cat…. ours died years ago but I still think about her alot and all the love she gave me.

    Once david has gone you will be fine, just think of the extra time you will have to do the things you enjoy

    catch up soon x x

  9. So sorry to read about your beautiful cat. They really are part of the family.
    And all the best to David!

  10. Thank you all for your thoughtful comments. We keep walking around the house expecting to see Jack appear any moment and snuggle up on the sofa or nuzzle our ankles. My father-in-law has made a wooden box for him and he will be buried in our garden this morning before we head for Hull.

    David is now on Skype, so he has no reason not to phone home! But seriously, I am so excited for him and his new life.

  11. G Eagle Esq

    Dear Ellee

    Sorry about the Cat – every Cat’s Death diminishes me


    Be of Good Courage

    In David, in place of a Child, you will be acquiring a Grown-Up Young Adult who will be a real Friend

    Best Wishes

    G E

  12. My thoughts are with you, our pets become a part of our lives and miss them terribly when they go. You must be proud of David and rightly so.

  13. Oh, Ellee, I am so sorry about Jack. You must all be breaking your hearts. I can only say that I do know how you feel and am thinking of you.

    David is taking the first step towards adult life and I know it will be hard for you. But I’m sure he knows how lucky he is to have you for a Mum!

  14. Sorry for you lose.

    A number of years ago my Father on returning from work found the remains of his black cat Lucky, which had had a car accident.

    My half sister and brother, who were both young at the time, had to have the news broken to them and their was a small ceremony involving a hole in the garden, a card board box and lots of tears.

    Just at the end, round the corner strolled Lucky.

    Dad had just buried ( and given a moving eulogy over ) someone else’s cat !

  15. Losing a loved pet can be devastating, Ellee. I do understand how you must all be feeling. Good luck to David in his new life. When my first daughter was born by sister in law commented, “You will never see things in quite the same way again now that you are a mother,” and I think the same is true when our children start independent adult lives.

  16. Can really appreciate what your going through.

    Jack reminded me of Blackie who departed in the 1970’s and as recently as June my mother had to have Gigi put down at 19 yrs of age. Then in August 4th my step-father passed away.

  17. So sorry that you have lost Jack. David will indeed he was there on his last day.

  18. Ian Lidster

    My condolences about Jack. That is always tough. Happened to me in similarly unexpected manner a couple of years ago with our beloved Stumpy the Wondermanx. Hit me harder than I’d anticipated it would.

  19. I am so sorry to hear about your cat, what a shock! Best of luck to David. I am sure it will be very strange for you for a while, but I am sure with time you will get used to it!

  20. So sorry about your loving cat, vey sad news, we lost one of ours a few years ago, the sister of Dom who we still have, everyone was so upset, but my husband took it the hardest.

  21. So sorry about your cat, Ellee. Maybe you should get a kitten when you feel stronger. Best of luck to David!

  22. I’m so sorry. Our pets become so close to our hearts, and we miss them so much when they go. I’m glad David was still around – it’s so much worse when you have to ring with bad news.


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