Healing Hope by C.A. Harms Link: http://a.co/4FUHdvo
Hope Larsen is living each day of her life with a crippling guilt.The game of ‘what if’ has made it almost impossible to move forward from such a horrific event. In one life-changing moment, someone who meant so very much to her was taken. A man who once was her best friend. A man she fell in love with.
She wanted to love him freely even though he was gone and not feel so immobilized by his absence. Relive the memories of times they shared without feeling broken and lost.
Then he shows up.
He waltzes right into her life as if he belongs, strong confident and determined to make her see him.
When Travis Donovan crosses paths with the snarky blonde, he’s intrigued. Her dismissal of him and his antics doesn’t have the effect she’d hoped for. In fact it’s just the opposite. He’s not one to run scared from a challenge, but instead he's the type to fight even harder to conquer it.
Though she tries to fight her attraction for the cocky electrician, she finds that his dedication fascinates her. Hope comes to the realization that there’s one thing that scares her the most.This man reminds her of the one she lost.
That stride, that smile, even the way he torments her…it’s all the same. He could be the one to show her that it's okay to move forward. It’s okay to love again.
Travis Donovan just might be the one to heal Hope.
I think most times things happen in our lives to test us. Life lessons, ways to show us what the true meaning is. But it still doesn't make losing someone you love easy to accept. You can never prepare yourself for that type of ache. It lingers, it tortures you if you let it, and in my case, I was.
I’ve been living with the same nightmare playing over and over in my mind—each detail and sound so distinct that at times it makes my body react as if it’s happening in front of me all over again. A feeling of being trapped in the moment, unable to break free from the pain it caused.
The dreams never fade, only feel as if they grow more graphic and explicit with time. Each time it plays out it brings a new detail or memory that I may not have remembered before. I just want to forget the events that took place on that one horrific night. I want to be able to remember Walker, and the happy times we shared, without it all hurting so much because he was now gone.
I wanted to be me again, the girl that laughed without feeling guilty or went out with friends enjoying life. But it was impossible not to think of him all the time. That would have been okay had I not blamed myself for the fact that he wasn't here.
It was always the same loud ear-splitting echo of one single gunshot repeating in my mind. It will be a sound I will always be able to now distinguish-- a sound so prominent and final. Because it was a single gunshot that managed to changed my life forever. One split second decision and my world felt as if it had shifted on its axis. Nothing felt normal anymore, like the purpose of each action was now a lingering question, what would it fix, what would I gain?
I see the moments of that night almost daily, Walker crumpling to the floor as he gripped his chest tight. That look of fear in his eyes is one look I’ll never forget.
Every loud sound since that day reminds me of just how I felt when the single shot rang throughout the small convenient station. I think I stopped breathing for a moment, or at least it felt as if I had. Everything grew foggy and swayed before me, causing me to stagger before collapsing to the floor beside him.
For a moment time stood still as if tormenting and taunting me, reminding me of what I was losing in an instant. I just want to forget the heart wrenching feeling of that day, I want to be able to close my eyes and not see that desolate look in his eyes as he began to fade in my arms. I watched him die, I watched the life slowly leave him, and when reminded of that look in his eyes I feel like I can barely breathe.
Everyone who knew or was in some way touched by Walker Thomas had been effected, even if it was only for that day alone. His loss was felt even by those who hadn’t gotten the pleasure of knowing him.
I don’t think I’ll ever know another person with a heart as big as Walker. He was giving, caring, and spent each day sharing his joy with others. Don’t get me wrong, the guy had a silly side too, and if need be, he had a temper that was hard to soothe.
He’d given his life to protect mine, and I would be forever grateful. Even though there were some dark times when I wished he hadn’t. Selflessly he chose to be my hero, as if I had more of a right to live than he had. I think that is the part I find hardest to accept.
Heartache doesn’t always heal with time, but instead grows more crippling.
Knowing that the bullet that took his life was meant for me made me even angrier that he chose to interfere. He could still be here, he could be alive. Sometimes I hated him for choosing to save my life. My mind was always filled with so many what ifs that couldn’t be answered. So I was left to face the fact he’d chosen to die, which meant he’d chosen to leave me.
Had it been only seconds earlier, it would have been me lying in that casket instead of him. It would have been my family crying in agony as they realized they’d never again hear my voice.
Distraught and utterly lost on the day of his funeral I begged for God to change the outcome. I wanted him to take me instead. Nothing about this was fair. There I sat, staring ahead at his lifeless body and I felt as if I shattered into a million pieces. People crying around me, the pained whispers of those that too felt the loss, only I didn’t hear a word they spoke.
I was lost.
I’m still lost.
Walker had so much to give and now that he was gone, the world felt like such a dark place. The light he always seemed to bring had faded the moment he passed, and along with it, was the girl I once was.
He was never just a friend, at least to my heart he wasn’t. He had always owned that special place inside me, deep down, a place no one else came close to touching. Though I never told him, I’m almost positive he knew I was in love with him. I think I had been since the very first moment he came to my rescue after Kurt Hart decided it would be fun to harass the new girl in town. I was transported to a new place, and a new school in the middle of my senior year. But Walker accepted me without hesitation.
Every day for the last six years he’d been the person I relied on most. He was the one I turned to for all the good and bad in my life.
He saved me in more ways than one during our time together as friends.
He was always saving me.
I missed the times he made me laugh or smile. He’d normally be the person next to me wiping away my tears. I was left with the knowledge that had I not insisted we stop that night for a damn bag of Cheetos, he’d still be here beside me.
How ridiculous of a demand was that? I was an idiot. A stubborn selfish brat that forced him to pull over for such a meaningless thing.
I think that in itself was the hardest part of it all.
I feel it every day, with every breath I take. A loss that even a year later feels as if it happened only yesterday. The sound of his gurgling breath, the fear in his eyes as he looked up at me, continues to linger in my mind. He reached out and held my hand in his so tightly as I watched the life slowly fade from his eyes.
I only wish I would have said more than I did in those last moments. I wish I would have told him the impact he had on my life, and how much I loved him. How no matter what took place from that moment on I would never forget him. I’d cherish the times we shared because they were, and still are, the most precious things to me.
Only I couldn't speak, not only due to the fact that I was terrified as men wrestled with the gunman only a few feet away, but because I knew I was losing the best friend a person could ask for. I knew there was so much I wanted him to know, but I couldn't form the words.
Instead, I told him to keep his eyes open, for him to look at me, just look at me. A whispered chant that slowly turned into a sob when he took his last breath. I rocked back and forth, with Walker’s head in my lap as I began to cry heavier, no longer caring if the gunman took my life, too. I continuously cried over and over telling him I was sorry, even though sorry did nothing to change the outcome of that night.
Nothing could ever fit the emptiness it left inside me.
If it weren’t for my parents, I don’t honestly know how I would have made it through the last year. They kept me afloat, they shared my sorrow, and pushed me to move forward every day, even though I fought them at every turn.
One day I hoped I’d find a way to move on from this heartache inside, but on most days it felt as if it would always be an impossible task. I’d spent the last year of my life in isolation. I found being alone with my thoughts was better than being reminded over and over of all the things Walker would never again feel the joy in doing.
Living my life to its fullest was hard knowing he was robbed of his. But I was trying, for him I was trying. Each day I pushed myself a little harder to climb out of the funk I’ve been living in. Each day I tell myself to get out of bed and live the day for Walker. The problem was, I still felt as if I always fell short.
Most twenty-five year old women were securing their future, whether it be planning a wedding or stepping into parenthood. Most by now had begun their careers. But I was trudging through life, ratified with getting through yet one more day of a worthless job. A job I hated, but lacked the motivation to find anything better.
I was a few credits short of being a veterinarian, which was again something Walker and I shared a love for. We always said we’d open up our own clinic one day, and be the biggest and the best.
It was hard to wrap my head around doing it alone now, it just felt as if a piece of that puzzle was missing.
So I spent my days in a meaningless job of entering material into a computer. Listening to the words of a doctor, as he documented the findings of patients’ X-rays and tests. It was tedious, but tolerable.
It puts money in my pocket so for now, it is enough.