Devastation. Despair. Distress. A deadly disease dragged my heart into an abyss of perpetual darkness. February of 2002 was when I received the most beautiful gift ever. The gift of a lovable, most compassionate, and playful Russian Blue. His name was Habibi, which translates to “My Love” in Arabic. He lived love. He was love. He gave love. He was loved. I wanted to be different from most people and give my cat a unique name. A name that matched his personality and his characteristics. He was indeed the most loving and friendliest cat we will ever know. Even guests would highly praise his genuine display of compassion and love, an impression he has left on everyone who shared time and space with him, even for less than a minute. His beautiful, rich, bright blue velvet coat and gorgeous emerald-green eyes brought warmth to my heart on my down days.

Eleven years later, lightning struck my heart, which shattered into pieces. Habibi was inflicted with lymphoma. The veterinarian had given me no hope. My options were one or nothing. Specialists claimed chemotherapy might extend his life for nine months. I told them that I would think about it, but in my heart, I knew that I would do the right thing. I would never put My Love through such pain. I do not believe in chemicals for healing humans, let alone for my cat, whose delicate body deteriorated day after day. Instead, I did my own research and discovered a natural alternative, for which I am thankful to God. The treatment extended my cat’s life for half a decade.

Devastation. Despair. Distress. Disease dragged my heart into an abyss of perpetual darkness. My precious Habibi passed away 720 days ago. I never felt so devastated. The loss deepened my depression. I did not think I would ever recover from the pain, but time is a blessing while memories remain unforgettable. Memories of how infinitely compassionate he was. How he used to greet guests at the door and comfort my kids when they were sad. He sensed and shared our emotions. He purred on our days of joy and brought us a plethora of warmth on days of bitter cold. Habibi will forever be missed. Forever, he will hold a place in our hearts, where memories of his beauty, love, loyalty, and innocence abide.



Author portraitMariana Jaber was born and raised in Brooklyn to Palestinian immigrant parents. Her native language is English, and Arabic is her second. She loves to learn ways to improve one’s physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. Certified as a STRONG by Zumba instructor, she intends to become a nutritionist and professional personal trainer. She is currently enrolled in the Adult Education Program of the Family Health Centers at NYU Langone, where her teacher is Annette Reives. The site adviser is John Kefalas, and the site director is Rebecca Gallagher.