Although I love all animals, I wasn’t really a cat lady. I was a Hedda lady. When I had to make the decision to help her die peacefully after 20 years together, I desperately wanted to know that Hedda felt I’d given her a good life—assurance that, of course, could never be forthcoming.
Two days later, Francis sent me the drawing on the right, along with a note “from” Hedda that ended, “p.s. I love you more than tuna.” After I stopped bawling, my writerly instincts kicked in, and I thought, “Wow, that would be a great book title.”
And I did what I do: I wrote what I needed to hear. That was the first draft of TUNA. Then life got in the way, and I put the manuscript to the side for a while.
Six months later, when I was talked into fostering a feral cat with an Instagram following, I discovered that my desire for that reassurance was universal. (And also, that looking at kitten photos on Instagram is a super-common way to cope after a cat’s death!)
I believe TUNA is Hedda’s gift—not only to me, but to all adults grieving a cat.
About Sarah (Writer)
Over the past 25 years, Sarah Chauncey has written and edited for nearly every medium. Her professional experience runs the gamut from personal essays and short stories, to entertainment and lifestyle journalism (online and print), academic journals, television writing and production, brand storytelling, ghostwriting online content for celebrities, and more. Her clients have ranged from MTV Networks to NASA, and her writing has appeared in such diverse outlets as EckhartTolle.com, Journal of Community Psychology, Canadian Living and Lambda Rising Book Report (now Lambda Literary Review).
After initially studying at Sarah Lawrence College, Sarah graduated magna cum laude from George Washington University with a BA in social psychology. She attended Yale School of Drama (stage management) and later, Goddard College’s MFA in Creative Writing program (fiction).
Born in Princeton, New Jersey, Sarah spent her early career in New York and Toronto; she now lives on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. You can check out her writing and editing site, as well as her mindfulness blog, Living the Mess.
About Francis (Illustrator)
In the 35 years since Francis Tremblay received his Graphic Communications degree at Laval University in Quebec, he has worked continuously as an artist, illustrator, designer and art director. When he’s not working on or showing his art, he’s drawing original cards and caricatures—or painting, illustrating, and photographing settings from Brooklyn to Madrid for magazines and clients. From founding the bilingual Montreal city magazine MTL and drawing for Vancouver magazine, to running Locomotive Design and illustrating the self-published children’s book There’s an Elephant in My Bed—he has spent three decades creating simple, pared-down drawings that capture essential, universal emotion. Francis lives in Brooklyn with his wife, writer Dianna Carr. They recently launched Latitudes, an online journal dedicated to literary stories of culture and travel. You can see other a range of Francis’s work on his portfolio site. Francis has had cat friends (the French phrase) all his life.