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. 

9 thoughts on “Holly

  1. I admire your courage so much – I haven’t learnt to forgive like this yet. Forgive my mum for choosing the acceptance and “love” (not even genuine love) of two pedophiles in particular, over my safety and wellbeing. I think her generation staunchly believed that the sin/crime is in being found out – and not the actual crime. Therefore, if they continue to hide the crime – it never happened.

    I also attribute my mum’s choices to the generational belief that women are inferior and should be grateful for any attention they get from men – even if it’s rape. It sounds ridiculous typing this out, yet – I have come across so many women who have been taught that their life’s purpose is to catch and hold onto a man ASAP, and that their life will be invalid until they do. This perspective creates so much desperation and fear within women, that they make all kinds of silly and even dangerous decisions to keep their man.

    Bethany, I know you feel like you’ve lost so much when you walked away from your friendship with Holly. From where I’m sitting, I think she’s lost far more than you. She’s lost a kind, goodhearted, brave, and supportive friend, which no amount of horse riding and rehabilitating animals will ever replace. I know this doesn’t make your loss any less though.

    Also, know what? maybe your choice to walk away is EXACTLY what she needs – a good example – to one day understand she deserves better. Maybe on that day she will also find the courage to tell her twisted husband to go fuck himself and leave him.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. A big decision indeed. No wonder you were her friend. What a beautiful woman she was to you and your daughter. I’m pretty shocked she could stay with her husband. More shocked she wanted you to just forget it and move on.

    My mother wanted to leave my father when she was in her middle forties. My dad had been caught fooling around with Mom’s best friend. But it wasn’t feasible financially. She had a job as a secretary, and it didn’t pay enough. So she stayed.

    I would rather be on welfare or homeless than live with a man who could rape.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t understand women who stay. She had plenty of money. So that wasn’t the reason. She was like most that just want to pretend it didn’t happen and move on. I couldn’t do that obviously.
      Forgiving her though was a burden lifted. I don’t want to hate her anymore. Not someone who i loved and who loved me.
      I slept in my car in a parking lot behind Seaworld when I was working there to get away from abuse. Just like you i’d rather have nothing than be anywhere near an abuser. Not everyone is like us though. But I don’t know why Holly was how she was. He admitted to what he did. Once I stopped trying to understand and just forgave her it was a weight that was gone.

      Liked by 1 person

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