Focus on the right things!

A cat typing at a computer.
Illustration by Vanessa Lennon McElvaney

Dear Ethan,

I know that my letters are supposed to help you eat your lunch and be happy, but I also know that you must be sad today.

I kind of feel like I need to talk to you about it.

Cats like myself are very wise, and often humans don’t listen. I hope you do.

I am sorry that your cousin died from this virus-thingy. It makes your mom and dad kind of quiet and thoughtful. I like the quiet part.

It also makes them cry because she was their age and because there were so many other people that are sad now because they loved her. It disturbs my napping, which is NOT okay!

You humans are so focused on what your mom calls the tragedy that you’re looking at the wrong thing.

Your cousin was a rare human, one I actually liked.

Everyone is talking about the virus that took her, but that’s stupid. They should talk about HER instead!

She had long hair, perfect for catching your claws in, and she had a smile that made other people smile, even when they were hurting.

For a human she was pretty decent, being a nurse and all. She saved a lot of lives just by saving their spirits.

Normally I don’t approve of humans, but she was a good one.

She tried really hard to help lost pets find their homes. Okay, most of them were dumb dogs, but no one is perfect.

Plus, who wants a pack of stupid dogs running loose in the neighborhood? Not me!

Come to think of it, she was super smart. I bet she helped lost dogs get home so that they couldn’t make more dogs and annoy us cats. That would make a lot of sense!

She was almost (almost!) as noble as us cats.

Sure, she did a lot of nursey-stuff, cared for babies, blah-blah-blah, but the most important thing is that she made people smile all the time, even when she didn’t feel like smiling for herself. It was kind of creepy in a good way.

Seriously, what kind of human has so much happy in them that they can just give it to others?

And after sharing smiles all day she volunteered helping lost pets to find their homes.

That makes her some kind of a hero, am I right?

You’re gonna be sad because she died of this covert-thing. I get it! But it would really help if everyone stopped talking about the covert and started talking about her instead.

It hurts for me to be nice about a human because, well, she’s human, but she was almost as awesome as a cat. Almost!

You were lucky to know her, even just for a few minutes. And if anyone would want you to smile, it would be her!

PS I’m still swiping you later, I’m done being nice for the day!
LuLu Cat


Life & death are Tetris

A dog sniffing a laptop and trying to type.
Illustration by Vanessa Lennon

Dear Olivia,

Today’s letter is kind of a happy/sad thing. I’m sorry to still have sad stuff, but your mom says that life is like Tetris where you have to pack good and bad together, and that if you stack the blocks the right way you can break the bad memories into small pieces so that only the good blocks stand out. I hope she’s right.

As you probably noticed (how could you miss it?!!!) your big sister is very weepy tonight because her friend died. It’s kind of hard to understand, isn’t it? It’s weird when someone super young drops dead. It doesn’t seem to make sense to go to sleep and not wake up.

But it does happen. That’s part of being a “special needs” family. Some days are scary, some days fun, some are ordinary, and others are weird and make you feel like you have it easy compared to someone else. That’s just the way it is I guess.

I guess it might also make you scared to go to sleep. That’s okay though, because I will lick you awake if there are any issues. I’ve noticed that when I lick your mom’s teeth, she wakes up right away. She also screams. I’m not sure why. But anyway, I’ll lick you on your mouth if you start to get sick or something and then you can get your mom and dad to help.

Why are the needs “special”? Doesn’t everyone have needs that are important? I think they do. Maybe they just don’t say it. Your mom says that everyone would have a diagnosis if we look close enough, but we don’t look if there’s no need. Your family is DEFINITELY special. You put sprinkles on your mashed potatoes!

Sprinkles on mashed potatoes are weird! But it makes everyone laugh to see the sprinkles on top because they remember the time your dad accidentally used vanilla soy milk instead of plain and the mashed potatoes tasted sweet and yucky. That’s a happy block for your life Tetris!

I guess that’s all I want to say today. I know it’s scary and sad and can even make you angry when a friend dies, because that is a big cluster of sad blocks. But if you surround that cluster with happy blocks, then they can break up the sad blocks and soon you will be able to concentrate more on the happy.

I wuff you!