My Bleeding Heart: Eight Years Later

my bleeding heart

Time doesn’t heal all wounds. Sometimes scars are left as beautiful reminders of something wonderful you once had.

August 25, 2006

“Holly, the doctors say he won’t make it the next 24 hours.”

“But they’ve said that before……right?”


I hang up the phone full of faith and determination.

But God said he’d be healed. He can’t die. He won’t die.

A few weeks earlier, I’m sitting at his bedside in the ICU. His clear blue eyes locked on mine, we dream of our future together. I lean my ear close to his lips keeping his whispered words as our secret. My mind etches them in perfectly and my heart feels overcome with a love I’m sure I’ll never deserve. 

I’d always felt like I didn’t deserve him– that a man like him would never love someone like me. This insecurity led to so much wasted time….time I’d now do anything to reimburse. 

Thousands of miles away from that hospital, I lock myself in my room and throw myself down on the blue plush carpet. The tears flow unceasingly all day as I beg and barter with God for his healing. I remind God, as if He needs reminding, of prophetic words that were spoken over him. I make desperate promises. I even offer my life for his. “Just take me instead, God. Please.”

I fall asleep sometime during the early morning hours– my pillow stained with tears, my fingers clutched tightly around the edges. 

August 26, 2006

It’s early. The house is quiet. 

I pick up the phone and call his mom. She answers and I quickly apologize for calling so early, but my heart is frantic and I just need to know everything is ok. That he is ok, but she stops me mid-sentence…

“I’m sorry, Holly, he didn’t make it.”

Standing on my porch doing my best to stay composed, I tell her I’ll make arrangements to fly back and she promises to call in a few hours with the details. The call ends and I walk through the back door where my roommate is staring at me looking for answers, but all I do is collapse onto the floor.

I have no words. No air. Nothing but pain coursing through every inch of my body. She wraps me in her arms and we sit in a pile on the floor. 

A few days later, I sit staring at him in his casket praying he’ll stand up and this nightmare will be over, but he doesn’t. Instead, they close the lid and lower him into the ground. My heart buried with him, six feet below. 

August 26, 2014

Today marks 8 years without him.

2,920 days.

70,080 hours.

4,204,800 seconds.

I’ve counted every second. Every minute. Every day. Those are the moments I’ve lived through– the heartbeats I’ve felt since losing him. Each beat reverberating in my chest reminding me that I remain here. And he is gone. 

Where is the redemption in all of this I’ve repeatedly asked God. What good could possible be found in all of this grief? He hasn’t replied until recently:

You’ve continued to love despite having lost.

That may not seem like much to you, but in all of the sadness, lost dreams and brokenness there’s still this hidden treasure of hope. I love. I love deep and I love strong. I love even when it isn’t returned or reciprocated.

So, I’ll continue to remember. To grieve. To celebrate a life, a love that I was able to embrace for a season. And most importantly, I’ll continue to love.  


26 thoughts on “My Bleeding Heart: Eight Years Later

    • Thank you so much for reading, Allison. I’m so grateful I was able to get it out beautifully. It was important to me to do just that. I wanted to represent him and the love well.

  1. Holly, to lose someone you love leaves a lifelong wound. I know your ache is still there, but you’ve continued to love through the grief. It’s almost like the loss has made you more reckless with your love, with your celebration of this moment in life. Thank you for opening up a very tender place of your heart and sharing it with us. I know you’ll find much much more love in the days to come. xo

    • Thank you for this, Charity. For a long time, I was told and thought that I needed to just “get over it” and forget it. But I don’t want to forget it. I want to remember it in all the beauty that it was and continues to be. I want to remain softened. Much love to you.

  2. I am sorry for your loss. You wrote some wonderful words and even though it hurts and will hurt forever, they are beautiful and I’m glad that you have your memories. Sending you lots of love and virtual hugs.

    • Thank you so much for reading and your kind response. He’s one of my greatest treasures. I continue to be so thankful for him. He taught me so many wonderful things about faith and love.

    • I debated writing about it, but the past month I couldn’t shake the thought that I needed to do it. The last time I wrote about it publicly was in college and I ended up winning an award for the writing. And then had to read a portion of it in front of people. It feels “good” to get it out…in a very small way…here.

  3. Death is so painful for those who survive. You will always love him and you will see him again. I agree that time doesn’t heal all wounds. God heals all wounds. I pray you are receiving His almighty peace. Thank you for sharing this profound piece of your heart.

    • You are right about that….and I believe that He is doing a beautiful work in me. I appreciate you taking the time to read this and offer me some encouragement.

  4. Beautifully written, many people expect us to just throw some dirt on it and get over it. There are those we love and will continue to mourn long after their journey with us is over. May you continue each day on your path of healing but never forgetting.

  5. Holly, I am so sorry your dear friend died. Your story leaves so many unanswered questions. Why were you so far away on a blue plus carpet? What insecurity lead to so much wasted time?
    So beautifully written, detailed snippets of whispers and love in blue eyes. Thank you for sharing a special, precious, private, moment.

    • There are many unanswered questions and vagueness– all by design.I know more details would have clarified things, but for now, some things will remain a secret treasure for me. In all though, it was my joy to share even that small piece and let people in. Thank you so much for reading and for your thoughts. Very much appreciate it!

  6. Hi Holly. I just want to thank you for sharing this & for doing it so eloquently. I experienced a deep loss, as well. But I could never portray it as beautifully raw as you have. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Thank you so much for reading. I’m so sorry for your loss. I’m grateful that God has given me the gift of words… It truly does help me process and grieve and walk through healing.

    • Thank you so much for reading and commenting. I struggled for a month debating whether I should write this, but it felt like time to share him and a portion of our story.

      • You’re welcome! I can imagine. I hope you found it cathartic in the end. Writing is a calming sort of ritual for me. I think you made the right decision. It shares what you set out for and A LOT of different emotion. You can feel it.

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