Sometimes You Just Have to Let Go

November 30, 2019   27 Comments »

When I saw the email from Linda, my heart sank. I opened it trepidatiously and read the first sentence….

“Not sure how to transition to this, but I think Kitty might be nearing the end.”

Immediately tears welled up in my eyes, my chest tightened and tears started flowing. I have no idea what came over me; I’m not really a crier. However, I knew this day would come –yet I still wasn’t prepared for it. My cat, Palucci, was 20 years old…this wasn’t a surprise.

I spent the next 12 hours in a slow bus to Chile thinking about all of the tears I shed for this cat…my cat. From the first time I moved her to San Francisco scared for her and myself equally since it was our first time leaving the Midwest. Then there were the surprising tears when I became allergic to her after I had her for 7 years. And the downpour of tears I cried when I left her at Linda’s back in 2006 as I prepared to go on my career break and travel. And finally, the tears shed just 2 years ago as I visited Linda, her family, and saw Palucci for the first time in 8 years. Now these tears come streaming down my face again leaving my eyes stinging and my heart aching.

I wasn’t ready to let go.

Giving up a Pet to Travel

The tears are tears of guilt, and sadness. I don’t know if I will ever come to grips with the fact that I gave up my cat to travel.  I frequently think about the day I left Palucci with Linda – it was the hardest thing I had to do in order to go travel – and I second-guessed it a million times. I questioned my moral compass; leaving the only thing I had responsibility for with someone else. Was I giving up? I felt like a mother leaving a child behind; was I a horrible person?

I nearly turned around that day in 2006 as I was driving back to NYC sobbing; I came close to calling my whole trip off. When I got home to my apartment and there was no kitty at my door waiting for me I cried more. What had I done?

 

“The only piece of responsibility and commitment I have in my life is my cat. I’m totally serious. I don’t own a house, no car, no boyfriend, no ex husband, no kids, and no debt. However – I have a cat that is totally and unconditionally in love with me. She honestly thinks that the earth revolves around me…that is, if she knew what a planet was.” –from my initial excerpt in 2006 when I gave her away.

As I sat on the bus to Chile feeling the sting of guilt and sadness of tears, I thought about what might have happened if I turned back that teary day in Connecticut in 2006 and called off my career break travels for my cat.

What if?

I would have spent the next decade continuing to climb the ladder at Coach and likely never leaving my Information Technology career. I would have bought an apartment in NYC. I would have traveled minimally on my few weeks of vacation at a time. I would have had really expensive camera equipment that I barely used. I would have spent another decade handwriting in my personal diary by my bed. I would have been terrified of all of the new technology and social media changes that happened in the last decade…fighting them instead of embracing them. I would have continued to go through boyfriends, maybe even found Mr. Right and got married. I would have been normal.

But then I thought about all of the things that wouldn’t have happened if I had called off the career break to stay with my cat.

Cats I met around the world…

I wouldn’t have built a strong bond with my nieces. I would have ever traveled with my father and realized how much he means to me; and how much I’m like him deep down. I wouldn’t have learned how to drive a motorbike, or a rickshaw. I wouldn’t have understood the beauty of slowing down. I wouldn’t have learned that people with less are happier in the world. I never would have gone to Antarctica…twice! I wouldn’t have ever been exposed to the beauty of people all over the world providing me beds and showing me their culture. I never would have improved my photography or ever called myself a writer (that still sounds weird when I say it!). I wouldn’t have realized the importance of family and health. I wouldn’t have appreciated the concept of ‘less is more’. And I wouldn’t have had that beautifully exciting feeling of satisfying my intense curiosity and experiencing something new every day. I wouldn’t be the person I was meant to be.

This all happened to me because I was willing to give up my cat and take a risk – a leap into the world; even though the guilt of leaving her was killing me.

Sometimes you have to let go to go.

The Traveling Cat

I thought about when I picked up Palucci for the first time from the farm in Indiana; she was only 3 weeks old. she fit in the palm of my hand and had a little high pitched “Mew, Mew!” I thought about all the times I moved her across the country for my career (Indiana, Minnesota, San Francisco, NYC) and how she handled each move. I gave her a pretty exciting 8 years. She moved around with Linda from Connecticut to North Carolina and back to Connecticut. And from Linda she got things I never could have given her; a house in suburbia, a husband, and kids – she got a family. She too had a life of curiosity and experiencing new things.

When I got off the bus that night in San Pedro de Atacama and got to wifi again, I contacted Linda. Even though I hate goodbyes, we hopped on Facetime where I could have a last moment with my Palucci. Even though she was frail, I knew she had an abundant life full of feistiness, independence, and newness. “This cat really is you – she always has been; fiercely independent, grouchy, adventurous, hates men, and driven by emotion,” Linda said with tears in her eyes.

I knew she was going to pass away soon; she was old and dying. But still somehow you are never really emotionally prepared for someone leaving you for good. But because I took the cat to Linda and introduced her to a whole new life without me, I was able to introduce myself to a whole new life. And for that I’m forever thankful.

That was the last time I saw her. Linda told me she passed away the next day not letting anyone hold her – fiercely independent.

It was time to let go.

PIN IT FOR LATER!

Giving up a pet to travel


letting go of a pet

When I saw the email from Linda, my heart sank. I opened it trepidatiously and read the first sentence….

“Not sure how to transition to this, but I think Kitty might be nearing the end.”

Immediately tears welled up in my eyes, my chest tightened and tears started flowing. I have no idea what came over me; I’m not really a crier. However, I knew this day would come –yet I still wasn’t prepared for it. My cat, Palucci, was 20 years old…this wasn’t a surprise.

I spent the next 12 hours in a slow bus to Chile thinking about all of the tears I shed for this cat…my cat. From the first time I moved her to San Francisco scared for her and myself equally since it was our first time leaving the Midwest. Then there were the surprising tears when I became allergic to her after I had her for 7 years. And the downpour of tears I cried when I left her at Linda’s back in 2006 as I prepared to go on my career break and travel. And finally, the tears shed just 2 years ago as I visited Linda, her family, and saw Palucci for the first time in 8 years. Now these tears come streaming down my face again leaving my eyes stinging and my heart aching.

I wasn’t ready to let go.

Giving up a Pet to Travel

The tears are tears of guilt, and sadness. I don’t know if I will ever come to grips with the fact that I gave up my cat to travel.  I frequently think about the day I left Palucci with Linda – it was the hardest thing I had to do in order to go travel – and I second-guessed it a million times. I questioned my moral compass; leaving the only thing I had responsibility for with someone else. Was I giving up? I felt like a mother leaving a child behind; was I a horrible person?

I nearly turned around that day in 2006 as I was driving back to NYC sobbing; I came close to calling my whole trip off. When I got home to my apartment and there was no kitty at my door waiting for me I cried more. What had I done?

“The only piece of responsibility and commitment I have in my life is my cat. I’m totally serious. I don’t own a house, no car, no boyfriend, no ex husband, no kids, and no debt. However – I have a cat that is totally and unconditionally in love with me. She honestly thinks that the earth revolves around me…that is, if she knew what a planet was.” –from my initial excerpt in 2006 when I gave her away.

As I sat on the bus to Chile feeling the sting of guilt and sadness of tears, I thought about what might have happened if I turned back that teary day in Connecticut in 2006 and called off my career break travels for my cat.

What if?

Read more about my cat and the entire story about letting go here.

PIN IT FOR LATER!


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