"the first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are." -john pierpont
i know that most of you are thinking that the above quote has to do with moving across the country. and i bet you're thinking that the sunshine represents "sunny california", right? well...surprise! does this post involve moving to california? yes. is that the purpose behind the quote and the goofy little sunshine you see? no. let me start off by saying this: yesterday i was faced with some very unexpected news regarding my big move. ever since my vision for moving to california was officially put in motion, it has been planned that my very lovable, very toothless, and very old cat wilbur would be the only companion by my side. yesterday, i made my way to the vet; wilbur in one hand, a list of questions regarding feline airplane travel in the other. not only was i absolutely shocked to find out that putting wilbur on a plane could very likely be fatal for him, but as i sat there and listened to the vet list off what she suspected to be his serious ailments, which were FAR more severe than i had originally thought, i felt as if my heart was slowly breaking into a thousand pieces.
skip ahead 24 hours.
after a full--no seriously--twenty four hours of crying, today i spoke (cried) to my best friend sara about how all i could feel was sadness. although i've been a little anxious and slightly overwhelmed by to-do lists, clothes to fold, emails to send, and phone calls to make, i've still been so unbelievably excited for friday that nothing could truly break my spirit. until yesterday. when i told sara that i was so consumed by sadness i was having trouble getting back to that level of excitement and joy, she reminded me of a few things that not only brought the sunshine back to my life, but convinced me to move out of the emotional hole that i thought i'd never climb out of:
1. wilbur is still alive.
photography by sara mclamb
without even realizing it, i had begun to mourn the loss of wilbur, when the entire time sara and i were on the phone--there he was, sitting on my lap. although the vet had done some bloodwork on wilbur a while back, any diagnosis she gave him yesterday was simply a result of looking at him and knowing his history. while i understand the concept that cats are the type of animals who don't let you know when something is wrong with them, i believe that if it was wilbur's time to go, he wouldn't be purring constantly, eating perfectly fine, and chasing a piece of string around my room. i realize that wilbur is on his last leg (paw) of life, but sara reminded me that because wilbur is the ONLY one who knows when it's time to go, i need to stop thinking that wilbur is already gone.
2. i already have given everything i possibly can and more to wilbur.
the thought of not being there for what will most likely be the last few months of wilbur's life is absoutely devastating to me. although it's perfectly understandable to feel that emotion, sara reminded me that the past three years, i have given wilbur more life and love than he ever expected. she reminded me that even though i've had it embedded in my mind that wilbur lives solely because i give him love, the truth is that wilbur also survives on food, water, and shelter. although the sadness of not being there for the very last part of wilbur's life is something that i will never truly be able to get over, sara's reminder that my parents will be there to feed him, make sure his water cup is filled to the top, and give him love helped to ease some of that pain.
if wilbur knew that i was crying into my suitcase instead of being excited for this adventure that has been waiting for me my entire life, he would "slap me around a little" (beautiful sar...was it shakespeare or aristotle that originally spoke those words?) the truth is, if i had realized from the very beginning that wilbur wouldn't be able to make the trip, and i had never taken him to the vet and heard the doctor spit out a list of possible sicknesses, i wouldn't have three t-shirts covered in tears and mascara. of course i would, regardless, be unbelievably sad to not have my quiet, clumsy, eleven inch best friend by my side; but i would still be filled with excitement instead of sadness thinking about the things that are potentially wrong with wilbur. so when sara asked me, "what would wilbur do" if he knew that instead of deciding which pair of shorts i was going to wear my very first day in LA, i was crying onto a pile of socks, it reminded me that after all the love and happiness i have given to wilbur, he only wants the same for me, even if he can't be there to experience it with me.
now, for an incredibly beautiful tribute and a more detailed insight into the life of my wonderful friend, go here http://inthemindoflovestricken.blogspot.com/search/label/wilbur
so to finish off this post, i'd like to say a VERY big thank you to my best friend sara, for always reminding me that things are only as bad as you let them be. sadness happens, and it's absolutely okay to cry about it; but you need to remember that not only is the sun still shining and there's a bright side to everything, but "the first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are"
december 2007: our very first encounter with wilbur; love at first sight.