Dear Holly

February 11, 2013
Dear Holly,

There’s something you should know. I heard you last night, praying beside my bed, praying to God that the cancer won’t kill me. It won’t work. And I heard you say you’d stop believing in him if I died. Don’t. Keep reading this letter; it will get better, start to make more sense. You’ll get this letter from the nurse who’s been taking care of me; she’ll make sure you get this letter, after I’m gone. Right now, I want you to know that I love you, that I wish we could have more time together. But that wish has already been granted. .

Do you remember seven months ago, when you lay in a bed like this, your hair shaved like mine? I’ll take the time to write and say that you still looked pretty d*** good! But of course you remember; we all thought you were going to die, me believing it but not wanting to. I would stand by your bed, missing all my classes, forgetting to eat, always ready for you to talk to me or for me to hold your hand. We would spend hours crying together, hours talking together, knowing that each hour counted. But you don’t remember the night before the day the doctors said that you would die, do you? Probably not. The medication had knocked you into a peaceful sleep, and you would have killed me when you got up for doing what I did.

I was praying by your bedside, begging God that you wouldn’t die, threatening to stop believing in him if you died. Just like you. I told him about how you dreamed of going to art school, or maybe write poetry. I told him how much you meant to your family, the whole town, and me. I told him that you suffered a lot with the cancer, and that you deserved something better. After a while, I stopped praying and just sat in the chair beside you, holding my head in my hands, crying softly so you wouldn’t wake up. Then, at midnight, I felt something. It was a feeling, as if I could do anything at the moment. As if God was giving me a chance to beg for your life. So I took the chance. I said that I would d*** my soul to Hell if you lived, not just through the cancer, but actually lived your life. I prayed that your cancer would disappear, and that I would take on your disease. I prayed that both could happen to me as long as you lived. Then I kissed your forehead, and fell asleep in the chair, still praying that you would live. The next day, I woke up and didn’t see you in the bed. I panicked, jumping out of my chair, praying that the doctors didn’t move you, that you hadn’t died during the night. Now here’s what you probably do remember. You walked out of the bathroom, still pale and weak, but far healthier than you did before. You just smiled at me and said, “Good morning.” I ran over to you, and gave you a gentle hug, wishing I could hold you tighter. Of all the things I wanted to hear you say, nothing will ever compare to that beautiful “Good morning.” The doctors were baffled. You were supposed to die, or at least be comatose, that day. Instead, the cancer was gone, along with all the negative effects from the chemo. They didn’t know why, you and your family didn’t know why, although you never really cared. Only I knew why. The time between now and then was amazing. Every second we spent together was beautiful. But I knew that it was a limited pleasure. When I collapsed inside that art museum with you, six months after you were released from the hospital, I knew that I had to pay up. I had to fake my surprise when the doctors informed us that I had lung cancer, so that you wouldn’t know that I already knew somehow.

So here we are. A month after you and everyone else found out about the cancer. My head’s shaved, my lungs are deflated balloons, and I can barely stay awake unless you’re around. I was going to keep this a secret, my deal with God, but I cannot let you throw away your faith. That’s what this letter is for. There is definitely a God out there, Holly. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be alive to read this letter. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have had the amazing extra six months that we’ve had together. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be in this bed here. Didn’t you find it strange that a nonsmoker, who always leaves the room that has even one lit cigarette in it, would have lung cancer? That was an act of God; one act to save you from cancer, one act to give me cancer. Part of the deal I made. So don’t stop believing in him, Holly. He is out there, believe me. And I’d go through all this, the shaved hair, the chemo, the surgeries, the pain, all of it, for you. So as unfair as it may seem, God actually has done a service for us. I’ve lived my life far more with you in the past seven months than I ever could in a dozen lifetimes if you had been the one to die. Now you can live your life; move on, get married, have kids, write poetry, live your dreams! I have no regrets about my life. The one thing I will never regret, no matter how hard I try, will be the prayer that saved you. That’s what I call it. Not the prayer that killed me, but the prayer that saved you. I can hear you coming back in the room now, so I’ve got to stop here. I love you Holly.



Join the Discussion

This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

AsIAm This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
May 1, 2013 at 10:42 am
Da**it, dude! Why'd you have to go and do that to me? ;) Needless to say I love it, as usual. Very touching, and love the idea. I also like your voice in this. :) It's all so real! *applause* 
AlexanderIvanAshford replied...
May 1, 2013 at 10:20 pm
Thanks!:D Sorry if it made you feel too sad. I tried to make it sound like it came from someone who'd do anything for some extra time with someone they care about. 
Site Feedback