Hollie's words

May 20, 2024

Writing Hope

The very first time I walked through those pub doors, everyone turned to stare. A comer-inner they all said. A gentle giant with piercing blue eyes, the locals called you the most eligible bachelor in the village. Our connection is instant, you are like no one I’ve met before. I know you are going to change my life.  

A few short months later, it’s our wedding day, the start of our new life together. We have a baby on the way, and I couldn’t be happier.  But on our honeymoon as we visit the Wailing Wall, you are hoping your darkest secret will stay buried in the past and never be discovered. But it wasn’t to be. The warrant was already signed; the police are at the door.

This time you are lucky. You hoped it would just go away. And it did. No interview. No further action. I am hoping you have told me the truth, and this will never happen again. I’m trusting you, I have so much to lose. And so do you.


Seven years later, all hope is shattered. The Knock comes again, only it’s real this time. Eight uniformed officers and four marked cars outside our house signal to the village all is not well. As they take you away, I hope this is a mistake, though deep down, I know it’s not.

There is no going back.

You are ashamed and can’t see a way forward. In the grips of depression and addiction, the suicidal feelings have been there for a long time. Now it has all come to a head, you feel a release. You plan to end it all; walk out of the station, jump over the bridge in front of an oncoming train.  

Trying to wade through the devastation you have left behind, I am the collateral damage, along with our children. An empty shell existing in the world, a prisoner trapped in my own mind. Spiralling, left to imagine the worst.

All aspirations shift in an instant. Being happy is the true measure of success. This is now all I want for my children. But right now, getting through the day feels like too much. I just focus on one minute, and then the next. The hours start to add up, and then the days. I just hope we survive.

The early weeks and months are difficult, I’m trying to create a sense of normality and stability for the children. The grind is hard, and I can only hope this will get easier in time. The tears are daily, and the exhaustion is real. I’m mourning the life I thought we had, the future we had planned, the man I thought I knew. You have passed your shame on to me, and the burden feels too heavy to bear. The grief and shame driven underground.

I face a wall of passive resistance from those who should help. I am not a victim. Always someone else’s responsibility as doors close, leaving me isolated. The police won’t disclose what you did. Their restrictions mean I can’t talk to you. Social services want to know if I understand their concerns, yet I’m the only one who doesn’t know what you have done. The GP signposts me to the school, and they don’t have the resources or the expertise.

I’m met with hostility and incompetence; this is not the partnership approach I expected from social services. I shouldn’t have to fight so hard, or demand that the statutory duty towards my children is exercised with due care and attention.

Finally, nine long months later, the Police indicate there could be light at the end of the tunnel. I’ve been advised not to get my hopes up, but hope is all I have. It’s a relief when it’s a caution and no media reporting. It ends just as abruptly as it started.

I drag myself up by my bootstraps and tentatively step backout into the world. Only Covid sends me right back inside. Doorstep socialising allows me to build back slowly.


Another seven years later, this time The Knock is a phone call. “I have been arrested again.” The floor falls away again and the panic rises just as it did before. Surely this is third time unlucky, this shameful secret will be revealed.

I’m so angry you have done this to us again. You have had 15 years of my life. I can’t go through this again, our children can’t either. There is even more to lose this time, you are already on your second chance.

The shame and secrecy of this journey impacts how I show up in the world. A thinly veiled veneer disguising my truth, an invisible barrier in all my personal interactions. Guarded, ensuring I don’t relax and accidentally over share. Never straying too far from the factual truth, omitting the detail, keeping things superficial.

As I reflect on the last 17 years, I have learnt the lesson that was sent for me. There is a difference between kindness and compassion. I cannot fix your problems. You have to want to do that for yourself.  

I want to be released from the shame and stigma of The Knock. Leaving the weight of the responsibility for navigating this unmarked path behind me. Reclaiming my voice. Becoming the energy I want to attract, bringing with it authentic human connection.  Living in the moment, enjoying life, feeling gratitude.

I am ready to emerge from my winter into spring. My only hope now, is that you can do the same.

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