an open letter to inspiration

sometimes, we encounter beings that make us better for being in their presence. when they leave us, the world wobbles on its axis, and we hope it never resettles. at least when the world is upended we don’t have to face real life without this thing that we loved so much. it is a bleak, dreary and dreadful thought. but if you meet a being that was sent to make you better, your challenge is to not be worse off after they leave.

It hurts.

Sometimes feeling better feels like a betrayal. How can you claim you loved them if you manage to be ok without them?
I understand.
I also understand that not getting better, not being better, is a betrayal.
If this person or thing that came into your life is a key, then a door was unlocked in you.
Your door
And after the being departs, its still your door. And all the things you learned in its opening, are still your lessons.
More importantly, all the opportunities that flew in through that door are yours to grasp.
To not grasp them is to disrespect the life of that being.
I’m not saying everything happens for a reason. The fact that they do doesn’t change the way your stomach closes in on itself every time you remember that you can’t talk to them anymore.
And I’m not saying you can talk and they’ll hear you wherever they are. The fact that they can does not undo the gaping hole created every time you say their name but can’t touch them.
All the things we say can’t ever cover over the pain that comes in death’s wake.
All I want is for my being to come back. All you want is yours.
Grieve.
Mourn
Cry when people thinks its inappropriate. Death is inappropriate. It is the only thing that even after years of preparing, can still surprise you. Can still suck up all the air in the room.
Be sad
Seek out unhealthy coping mechanisms
But…
Come back
Eventually
Do not stay in the wilderness forever
You don’t just owe it to them. You owe it to yourself. They came here to help you fit together some of the pieces of the puzzle that is yourself. Don’t give up on yourself. What would their work have been for if you do? All in vain. And that makes your words hollow.

One day in a parking lot I found a mawga, flea infested, loud, demanding little cat. I named him pepito and proceeded to love him more than I have loved any animal in my life. I loved him more than I loved most humans. He was a fighter. When I found him he was almost dead- he lived. He broke his leg and was almost ripped up by dogs. He lived. He was always happiest to see me. When he was sedated and I came into the room he woke up, for me. He slept on my chest and interrupted all my work days by walking across my laptop and sleeping on the keyboard. He didn’t follow instructions. He played with dogs three times his size. He terrorised dogs three times his size. He let me lay my head on his scrawny belly and listen to him purr as I tried to sort through the things I wasn’t ready to share with my mother and friends. He ate when I ate dinner. He broke my face basin. He scratched my arms and grudgingly allowed me to bathe him. And I loved him fiercely. In the year and a half since I knew him I applied to and was accepted into my Masters programme. I did my first vlog, a thing I have thought about and feared for years. I started talking to my mother like an adult. I learned to swallow disappointment for the sake of tasting chances. And I relearned how to do that from watching him. I know he didn’t just come here accidentally. He was placed here. For me. To remind me of things I’d lost. To remind me that courage comes in many forms and though I may not be the girl I was, I was still here, and could try bravery my way. And I know many people think ‘its just a cat’, but who am I to tell God who and what to use to teach people.

He died on Monday May 7, 2012. And during his illness and after his death I went silent, went into hiding. Emails unanswered, interviews undone. I shut down because there were no words to express how afraid I was of what would happen if he died. The pain I would feel. I could not handle this.
But I have to remember that his presence brought me these opportunities, these interviews and emails. And while I still cannot talk about him without acting like a fool. I cannot let opportunities he helped me to find pass me by.
The good comes with the bad, and the test of what you learned in the good times is whether you capsize when the bad hits.
I won’t. That would be disrespect to a being I love so much.
Fighting back to normalcy with my memories clutched tight. That is the order of my days.

Pep, you were so many things to me. And reminded me of so many things about myself. Thank you for always thinking you could take that fight, no matter what.
And I can take whatever may come. Because that’s how you make it through life.
When things knock you down, Pep it up.

I love you

-carla

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14 responses

  1. Oh Carla…yuh mek ppl start bawl …bawl, like seh it was my puss.
    This is beautiful Carla
    But yes, there is a saying (or scripture…I forget) thatsays: God uses the foolish things to confound the wise. Ppl might not understand, but life lessons can come from anyone, anywhere, or, from anything. We just have to be open and willing to listen.
    Thank you for sharing Carla.

  2. Every words that you wrote was the truth. Sometimes when we are separated from the ones we love whether by death or divorce–because it is like death only that the person is alive but out of your life–we go through a mourning period. But thank you for sharing and opening up your heart to us. Knowing what you now know is priceless and Pep can never be replace by anymore because he is now your memory, your past, your experience and your bridge to a better you. Keep on writing and vblogging because you have become a part of our lives.

  3. I remember when u introduced Pepito to me via facebook, this puss u deemed suicidal because he had found his way entangled in a cord under you car…. You hit a nerve within me with this post Carla, I’m moved to tears. You had Pep, but the lesson was not only for you, it was for all of us and I thank the Divine one for bringing him to us and allowing him to fulfill his purpose. My prayers are with you hun and I’ve already shared with you the desire I have due to your love for Pep and Maggie. Love u girl.

  4. last year, the day before my first presentation as a doctoral student, i had to put my dog/best friend/child for 14 years. it was heart-wrenching. still is but it does get better with time. i often wonder if i’d ever be able to get another dog. your post reminded me what a gift it is to be able to love any living thing that long, that hard and in ways that are so bloody uncomplicated.
    thank you for this. wishing you swift healing and the comfort of your memories.

  5. oh Carla, I’m sorry to hear and I know your loss and I feel your pain. My cat of 17years died on last Friday in the early morning and i watched her take her last breath. People laughed when i said my Charlie was sick and she needed to go on drip because she wasn’t eating. The vet said she did her time but i didn’t want to let her go.

    Chin up babes, time heals all.

  6. Sorry for your lost Carla, that was a very beautiful letter. Just know he’s in a better place. I too understand the love you have for your pepito, I have a cat name Tupac. had him since he was a kitten when I was in High School. I feel your pain because I would also lost it if I were to lose my tutu, he is my first child. I’m truly sorry for you lost again. It hurt my heart to see innocent animals have to go from us.

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