Tag Archives: death

Death of our cat Henry.

as-salamu ‘alaykum,

Inna lillah ilayhi wa inna ilayi rajioon.

A little over two weeks ago, on a Tuesday night I put our pet cat Henry out for a few hours before bedtime only for him never to return. Henry was a pure black British Short Hair X and we named him after our favourite football player Thierry Henry of Arsenal. Henry was nearly 7 months old so was an adolescent cat. In the 5 or so months we had him he had firmly become a part of the family and much loved. My 2 year old daughter, Sumayya, seemed to have a special bond with him, not matter how much she manhandled him and pulled his tail or picked him up, he did no more than paw her away. He was very frisky and very entertaining, chased everything and was very curious.

My two sons Yusef aged 12 and Binyamin aged 9 were also very fond of him and have been very upset and in some ways it is a lesson in life and a lesson in how to deal with grief. Both are very tearful and very sad.

Personally, I am having feelings of guilt. I was trying to “wean” him off the litter tray so that he would go outside. For a few days he had gotten used to going out and doing his business then coming back. But on the night in question I called for him just before going to bed, usually he comes running, but that night nothing. It also snowed that night as well so I was very worried.

Just today a neighbour from across the road knocked on the door, he was very subdued in his tone and immediately I was worried. “Could I have a word?” he said solemnly and making sure my children were out of earshot. I initially thought my kids had gotten in to trouble and then he said that he had heard that our cat was missing and that he had found him but, he was dead in the bushes in his front garden. A very uneasy and empty feeling came over me. He offered to deal with disposing of him but I insisted that I’d like to take a look to make sure it was our cat. Part of me was hoping (quite obviously) that it wasn’t and part of me was sure it was. There he was poor Henry lying under the bushes, lifeless, devoid of the friskiness that we had gotten so used. I was consumed with grief, I did not imagine that a death of a pet could have such an affect on me.

I broke the news to my kids and they would not believe me at first, they thought I was joking but when they saw the expression on my face they relented and burst into tears. They wanted to see Henry but I insisted that they didn’t and told them that Peter, our neighbour, was going to bury him in his back garden. They protested and wanted him buried in our back garden, he was our cat, part of our family why should he be buried in a stranger’s garden? So I dug a hole in our back garden by our apple tree for his final resting place. The neighbour brought Henry over in a box and placed him in his grave. I covered him over and told my kids that this is a lesson in life, everything dies and we should remember the happiness the thing brought us. I placed a few rocks over the grave and then we recited the fatihah.

Henry, we shall miss you.

Here are some recent photos of Henry that my kids took:



Death of a Neighbour

Last week I was informed of the death of my parents’ next door neighbour. My parents have lived in their house for nearly 40 years, it was the house in which I grew up. In all that time they have had the same neighbours a Sicilian couple who had been married for 44 years. The late Antonio was a simple man not given to extravagance, he was a keen and skilled garderner who cultivated an allotment as well as his back-garden, he grew all sorts of vegetable and fruit and shared his harvet with his neighbours. He didn’t speak an awful lot of English but it was enough to make himself understood. He always had a kind word for people that he met and took a special interest in our family seeing as though he has watched us all grow up and then have children of our own. Over the last few years had been in and out of hospital and generally his health deteriorated but was always up and about and with a smile on his face. Most people in the street knew him to say hello to him and many people were shocked and saddened by his passing. He passed away at home in his wife’s arms.He is survived by his wife, a wonderful and lovely lady by the name of Alfonsa (she is always smiling!) and two grown-up children Gino and Margarete. Our family’s thoughts are with them.

It is strange, but it really does feel as though I have lost a family member and was very sad to hear of his demise, he was someone very familiar to all of us who lived and grew up in the street. My parents were particularly upset as they are currently out of the coutry at the moment as they have lost a really decent neighbour who they describe as a dear friend. I attended the Requiem Mass at their local Catholic Church and this was appreciated by the family and friends of Antonio.

It is at times like these that we come together regardless of race and religion, it is one of those times that a kind word, words of consolement and sharing of grief help to bridge divides and leave lasting impressions.