I met Holly when I saw a PETA ad and that she was working on helping abused animals and animal rehab. She basically saved everything…whales, horses, tortoises, chickens. Anything that needed to be saved she saved. She introduced me to a retirement home for horses where she volunteered. I volunteered there for years helping care for abused horses that were rescued. That connected me to a primate sanctuary where I worked to help rehab capuchin monkeys that were abused.
I remember when I first met her she told me how she got her chickens. A chicken factory and gone bankrupt and they just up and left the chickens to die. Holly went and loaded as many chickens as she could in her car! She brought them home. Every day those chickens had THE LIFE. The dug holes like dogs! They were given their fill of every food you can give a chicken. My daughter and I would swing in the hammock with the chickens in her side yard. That is how we met.
At least 3 days a week I went to Holly’s house and helped her hand feed baby squirrels and baby birds, flying squirrels, and everything in between. She made her home mine. She gave me a key. At the time I was working on my ministerial license but had no computer. I spent hours at her house every day using her computer and printer doing my studies and work. She treated me like a daughter and a friend.
My daughter was 2 when we met Holly. Holly had no children of her own. She loved my daughter like her own. The endless questions my daughter asked, Holly answered. Holly grew her own organic food, had an orchard and fruit bushes.She has 10 acres of farm. At the time she had a horse Jessie and Hotshot. It was pretty much a paradise for my daughter and me. She cooked for us vegetarian food. We rode her horses for hours. My daughter grew up picking blackberries, feeding horses, riding horses, and laying in the grass. We spent most of our time with Holly for almost 10 years. My daughter’s second grade teacher still remembers me picking her up from school early for an “appointment” that she later learned after reading my blog that the appointment was just to go ride horses!
Holly taught me how to superglue a tortoise shell back together. She taught me which bird needs meal worms and which needs ground hamburger and egg. She taught my daughter how to ride a horse. She taught my daughter how to fed a baby bird and when it was time to set them free. She let me daughter hold the bird and open her hand so the bird would fly away free. Holly gave us experiences that grew our hearts and filled our souls.
The prairie I love. She lives on the other side of it. We used to gallop her horses through that prairie together. She loved everything I loved. She gave us everything she had. She loved animals and nature and the earth just as we do.
She collected feathers and stones just like I do. I truly loved her.
Her sister had 10 acres too. We often visited her sister’s farm. There my daughter and I got to hang out all afternoon with bunnies, a turkey, a pig, horses, emus, dogs. Holly would take Riley riding horses for hours. As my muscle disease started getting worse Holly would help take care of Riley cooking for her and taking her riding while I rested.
She even took in a foster child that needed to be loved. She loved him like I have never seen a mother love a child. She devoted everything to him and healing him. That love was such a gift to witness.
She could not have children of her own but it was always obvious to me that the earth, the animals, and my daughter and me, were her children. She loved. Deeply loved.
That relationship changed when her husband attacked me in their garage and she made a condition of our friendship to forgive him and continue on like nothing ever happened.
I hated her for that. I hated that she stayed with him. I hated that because of his choice, then her choice, that we lost her. We lost the farm. We lost the animals. We lost so much because of that man.
Up until now, today, I have never forgiven anyone that has hurt me. That word, forgiveness, is not a word that I use. I have “released them” I have “let them go” but never forgiven.
Tonight, I was on the prairie with my husband. I was remembering galloping horses across that prairie with absolute joy in my heart. I remembered Holly. I remembered her. Not what she chose to do after what her husband did. Just her. At that moment I forgave her. I don’t know why she chose her husband and I never will. But she gave me a lot. She gave me so much love. She gave my child love. So much love in those 10 years. I won’t forget that.
I saw her a few days ago. She drove away when she saw it was me. I wish nothing more than to embrace her and send her the love she gave me all those years ago. We obviously cannot be friends but that doesn’t mean we can’t still love right? So I send her love. I send her forgiveness. My first forgiveness to date. A momentous occasion. To important not to share. I forgive you Holly for choosing him and not us because for a long time you did choose us. I haven’t forgotten that. I never will.