Letter to Brian: October 20, 2015

Dear Brian,

I went to visit Maximus and Marcus when I was home. You’d be so glad to see how well my “nephews” are doing.  They’re happy, healthy and positively adored by their new Mom and Dad!  They love spending time outside exploring their big back yard and still have a bit of a mischievous streak as they sometimes stand up on their hind legs and pull the lever to open the door and let themselves outside on their own.

Each time I’ve been able to visit them I’ve wondered if they remember me, you know?  I think about the day we went to the adoption event at Petsmart to pick out A cat for you but saw those two munchkins together in one cage and you asked me which one you should get.  Brothers, and only 12 weeks old, I convinced you that there was absolutely no way you were taking just one of them home… they had to stay together!  So we left the store with both of them that day and I became an Auntie… turns out it was my only chance at being an Aunt but I’m OK with that.  I remember the first night you were scheduled to work your overnight shift at the group home and you were worried about them spending their first night all alone… so you asked if I would come stay at your place and keep them company.  I loved that so much.  They were still babies and kept me up half the night stalking my feet under the cover and wrestling with each other on top of, and underneath the bed… and occasionally on top of my head.  They were adorable and loving and playful and I didn’t regret the loss of sleep one bit.

Do you remember when you’d be standing in the kitchen cooking and they’d try and crawl up your leg to come up and see you?  Even when you were wearing shorts??  I helped you trim their little razor-sharp claws to make it less painful for you because really– who could resist letting those two little monkeys trying to climb up for a hug??

I know how much it hurt you to leave the boys.  In your “goodbye letter” you included this section about the boys:

Maximus and Marcus–

They are great cats and don’t deserve to be put through this. I considered the idea of finding a new home for them beforehand, but I just couldn’t actually do that because I loved them too much. I’m sure Laura would never allow for anything to happen to them anyway, but my biggest wish is that they find a new home with someone who will care for them (please not to be farm cats). They are very well-behaved with their only real issue being that they like to chew on small cords. I’ve always used a self-feeder for them and they seem to do a good job of handling that, never had any major issues with overeating or them vomiting. Outside of that time that Marcus had that strange incident where his leg got hugely swollen all of a sudden but went away within a few days, they haven’t had any kind of medical issues at all or using the carpet as a litter box.

They both really like that cat stand, and they both would come to me usually when I’d call them. They both always would come greet me at the door too whenever I’d been gone for a while and usually jump up and paw at my legs a few times.

Please tell them that I said goodbye—I wasn’t really able to do that myself.

Their birthday is 9/25/06, so they are almost 4 years old now.


If you look at them closely, Maximus is the larger of the two. He’s very cuddly and affectionate, a classic lap cat. When he jumps up on my lap, he tends to stay put for the long-term and maybe take a nap. He pretty much always slept with me from morning to night. No real behavior issues with him at all…..for some reason he likes to close the bathroom door though. I think he does that because he likes to sleep on the mat in there sometimes and might close it to make the room dark. Sometimes though he’ll close it all the way and it will latch, so I needed to try to remember to block the door open if I was going to be gone for a while.


Marcus is quite a bit different than his brother. He’s more of an adventurer, no major issues with him, but he’s the one who tries to look for trouble a little more. He’s also very affectionate, but in a different way. Like when I’d be sitting at my chair, he comes up and just puts his paws on my arm and hugs my arm and rubs his head on my shoulder. He loves attention in spurts, you can usually pet him for 5 seconds or so and he gets very into it and soaking it in, then he’ll jump down and pace a bit, might be back in a couple minutes. He loves attention, just is a bit more restless. He sometimes sleeps with me too, but not always. He tends to come and go.

Please know that I took the responsibility of finding them a safe and loving home terribly seriously because I know how much they meant to you and how much they had been through, particularly since you weren’t found in your home until a week after your death.  I have never stopped wondering what they were thinking and feeling for all those days when you were lying there, unresponsive.  Then to be taken away by the police and brought to a shelter for the night… and then collected again by strangers and brought to Red Wing to again… only to be placed in a house with someone else they didn’t know.  The very day I got home, I rushed over to see the boys and it just broke my heart into a billion pieces to see them so timid and afraid; I felt such a connection with them as if we could share our mutual loss of you without any words.  I rearranged your old room and cat-proofed it so we could bring them home to be with us.  I spent single every night I was home that week in your room with them and loved on them as much as they would possibly allow.  I’m sure it sounds crazy, but I could feel their sadness and their fear; it was palpable and I understood it so well because I was feeling the very same things.

They just turned 9 years old and have spent the past 5 years together, in a loving home, just as you’d hoped they would.  I did what I could to see that they landed somewhere wonderful not only because I love them so much, but also because if something were to happen to me, I know that I’d want someone to ensure that my critters were looked after with the same kind of love that I’d always provided.

Please know that I continue to check in on them and visit as often as I can and that I whisper in their little ears that you loved them so much and felt so sad that you couldn’t stay with them and that you’re sorry for leaving.  I really think they understand and have adjusted well.  It means a lot to me to spend time with them because they are little living, breathing extensions of you; I’m so grateful to his new Mom and Dad for allowing me to continue to be a part of their lives.


the boys

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I lost my brother Brian, my only sibling, to suicide on October 13, 2010. I write about dealing with the loss as well as my own life-long struggle with depression and suicidal ideation.

One thought on “Letter to Brian: October 20, 2015”

  1. It’s wonderful that you’ve made certain that the cats were able to stay together. I know you wish that your brother could still be here with you. What a strange and tragic world we live in (those of us who have experienced such devastating losses)…

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