Monday, January 2, 2017

It Has Been a Year Today Since My Beloved Companion, Henry, Passed Away

I like to keep my blog on a happy note but reality is reality and I loved my tabby, Henry, so much that I felt it appropriate to honor him with the following one-year-old post. Ironically, he rode in my car (which soon became one of his favorite past times) like this on the day of his adoption, May 4, 1999, and then on the day of his passing, January 2, 2015. He represented unconditional love for 15 years and 8 months. It is poetic, really, that he chose to pass away where he was most comfortable but my heart is broken even to this day.
Perhaps the reason why I took this lifeless picture of Henry in my lap was because I couldn't believe it really happened and perhaps I thought that the reality would sink in if I looked back on this picture several times later to make me realize that he was indeed gone. 

Fifteen years of unconditional love was snuffed from my life in a matter of minutes and the pain has been unbearable ever since!

The scenario was that I made a 1:00 appointment on Friday to find out why he was so listless and unwilling to snuggle with me before I went to bed the night before. 

On the last morning of Henry's life it was alarming to watch Henry lay motionless instead of pester Daisy while she stood in his space but I still hoped for the best. I was hopeful that all the vet needed to do was increase his dosage of hyperthyroid medicine or run a few tests and then he'd be fine. 

Besides having been diagnosed with hyperthyroidism two years ago he had a heart murmur at birth and it was suspected that he had kidney issues and I believe that all of those health issues caused his body to shut down and I also believe he chose to die on my lap and in the car where he most loved to be rather than on the exam table.

If you've been following my posts for awhile you would know that ever since he was a kitten he loved car rides such as this one which was taken in October but I was unprepared that this ride would be his last but I refused to believe that the signs were there. 

As we prepared to leave the house he faced the back of the carrier rather than peek inquisitively out of the "window". Also, as I walked him towards the car he had a different protest meow than ever before and once in the car he didn't "ask" to get out of the carrier but I opened the door anyway. He then walked across my lap and used my arm as a "ladder" so he could look out the window and he was successful and even pressed the passenger side window "button" and as it rolled down he collapsed so I hoisted him up but then he made another odd meow and that was the last sound I would ever hear but I didn't realize it at the time. Right after that I put my hand on his side and he appeared to not be breathing and then he grew cold and but I didn't want to believe he passed away even then.

As soon as I parked in the vet parking lot I nonsensically called the vet while in tears to ask someone to come out to check his pulse and to get help bringing him inside. I don't understand why I didn't think I could carry him into the building even to this day. Within seconds a vet came out with a stethoscope and told me he wasn't breathing. Of course, I was in hysterics and she carried him to the exam room where I had to make arrangements.

While I stood by him at the exam table the vet imprinted his paw on the clay and was told to bake the clay for 15 minutes but I have yet to find the energy to do it.

When I finally had the wherewithal to drive  to Pet Passages, a pet after-care service  located in Lee, New Hampshire, I asked the funeral director to snip some of Henry's fur so I could have a keepsake.

Henry will be forever in my heart! 

I am finally writing about this because it is very therapeutic and because I know that you, dear readers, would be able to relate to my loss. 

In the next few days I will write several remembrance posts so that you can better how much Henry meant to me and I will also post about my experience at the funeral home. In a few days I will be picking up his urn and ashes. 

There is such a deep void in my life as well as in Buster and Daisy's life that cannot be filled. 

May he rest in peace.


  1. I want to let you know that you are not alone in how you handled every aspect of Henry's last days. When I read your story tears flow down my cheeks not just because I understand your pain and confusion but because it is so eerily similar to my own loss with my beloved Abby. For two weeks I battled against death, and I was willing to do anything to hold it at bay for my girl. She was a willing participant until the final morning when she told me to stop and let her go. It was a Monday, and she had an appointment for Thursday. I knew for the very first time that she was going to leave me. But I thought we had until Thursday, but she had other plans. She left me that same day, Aug 12, a Monday evening. She was in my arms where she knew she was the most cherished and loved, just like your Henry. I don't know why I didn't allow her body to stay with me overnight, but I wasn't thinking right and I put her in the box she had been attached to and how in Heavens name I could let her rest there I don't know. It haunts me to this day. Why didn't I keep her last night at home with me? Grief does not give one a rational mind. My hardest drive was taking her to the Vet the next day and knowing she would not come back with me. Coming home back into the house without her waiting for me was the worst. You're right the absence never leaves us. It is always there, we always miss those we love the most. I will say that the moments of intense Grief are further and further apart, but I will never stop missing her. God speed. God Bless you and your beloved Henry.

    1. Hello,
      I read your response on the very day you wrote it but couldn't summon up the energy to respond because I was so grief-stricken on the anniversary of Henry's death. Thank you for sharing your story of your loss of Abby because you provided a bit of grief counseling for me and it is also good to know that I am not alone. When you mentioned that you put her in a box I believe you were trying to do what you felt she would appreciate most and at the time it made sense to you BUT you must know that she knew you well and knew you were doing something nice for her! It still bothers me that the night before Henry died that I put him on my bed but he chose to sleep on the floor on a towel and instead of rushing him off to the emergency vet I let him stay there because I thought he would appreciate being left to rest without the fear of being poked and prodded at the vet's office. I can relate to you dreading coming home that night because she wouldn't be there to greet you. A year later and I have the same thoughts. However, like you said, grief comes in waves further and further out and I hope it continues.

  2. Can't believe it has been a year already. Memories are so good!
    Happy New Year
    Lily & Edward

    1. The memories are bittersweet for sure!


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