I started writing something tonight that I now realize will take longer to get out than I thought. So, instead, I thought I’d post an excerpt from an e-mail that I sent out in April 2004, letting people know what had happened to us. It’s pretty long (big surprise:-), and this is just the part that connects the dots of our story for the blog:
…As most of you know, my mom and I became homeless at the end of December. We managed to put some of our belongings in a small storage unit, packed what we could in our minivan, and left a lot behind. We knew we had nowhere for it, and knew that although it was difficult to leave it, in the end it was just "stuff". When you hit rock bottom, you certainly have plenty of opportunity to think about what really matters - it isn't "stuff".
What really mattered to us as we were losing our home of 7.5 years? Faith, each other, and our three cats - Ivy, Bugsy, and Skye. For those of you who know the animals we've lost in recent times, you can imagine how important not losing our remaining cats was...
So, on Tuesday morning, December 30, 2003, we headed out of our home with less than $400.00 to our names, three cats, and what we could fit into our '92 Plymouth Grand Voyager with no shocks, leaking oil pan, and a "Maintenance Required" light on (it hasn't had a tune-up since we got it in 08/00). Would it be possible to make it to the destination we had in mind? Were we crazy for even trying? Should we just be trying to stay in Oregon, despite the fact that we'd lost everything there - including, most importantly, our self-worth?
Of those questions, the one I know my mom and I could answer with certainty at the time, and even now, is that, yes, we were crazy. At that point, though, the lyrics "You're never gonna survive unless you get a little crazy..." seemed to hold the most truth. After all, it wasn't like we had much left to lose:-/
Thus began our own "Fear Factor" journey. I'm sure those of you in Oregon will remember that the end of December was not a pleasant weather time. What was intended to be a two-day journey stretched into four, due to some very bad driving conditions. We'd never driven in snow or on icy roads before, nor had to use chains (which, thankfully, we narrowly avoided on this trip). Bad conditions started in eastern Oregon, with thick ice on the highway (and the worst road maintenance), and lasted the entire journey. While ice is the scariest, blowing snow is a close second (especially when combined with icy roads).
I know a few of you are aware of where we were hoping to get to, but others are now wondering where the heck we were headed. So, I'll spare you the details of nights in Motel 6's with our cats - one who's been very ill for some time, and one who had to be kept separate because she doesn't like other cats. Instead, I'll tell you why and where we were headed.
Proof that even in our darkest hour, we still dared to dream; we chose a destination we felt would fulfill multiple needs. We thought our choice might work because it would fulfill our desire to live in a small town, my mom's artistic desire to live in the Southwest, and a joint desire to be in a community that supported our love for animals. If worst came to worst, we knew our choice would have a home for the cats.
On Friday, January 2, 2004, we drove into our destination: Kanab, Utah!!! Kanab is a small town in southern Utah, less than 10 miles from the Arizona border. Kanab is also the home of Best Friends Animal Society/Sanctuary - the largest no-kill shelter in the nation for abused and abandoned animals. We had longed to visit Best Friends for some time, but never dreamt it would be under these circumstances...
This part of the e-mail sums up our journey after we lost everything. Next time, I’ll most likely write about the events leading up to that moment - woo hoo;-) I read all of this and I’m once again amazed at everything that has happened in the past five years. I can still envision the above trip, and I know that no words can convey the feeling of absolute terror while trying to hold on to some sort of hope (and wondering why). Though we’re still recovering, I am ever awed and grateful that we made it – that we’re still learning and growing…