What Might Have Been


Today would have been seven years that Andrew and I would have been married. Sometimes I like to think about what our relationship would have looked like had he survived cancer for a second time. I truly believe those would have begun the best years of our marriage. If you’ve read Andrew’s book, A Gray Faith, or some of my earlier posts, it will come as no surprise that we had a rough start to our marriage. The odds were not in our favor.

I was young, insecure, and felt totally out of my element as a wife and as an adult. Andrew was still trying to find his path and wrestled with doubt and questions about his faith (which was a big deal because he had recently graduated from seminary and was looking to serve in the ministry). The combination was pretty turbulent. Add in some depression on both sides and a lot of sleeping on the couch and you’ve got two pretty unhappy people. Part of the reason I believe our relationship struggled was because our personalities were polar opposites. I think it’s what initially drew us together, but it’s also what drove the other one crazy. Many times our communication toward each other was lost in translation. It didn’t help that we were raised in a completely opposite way when it came to money. We felt like we were from two different planets, which made it nearly impossible to understand where the other person was coming from.

After Andrew passed away one of my initial coping mechanisms was to focus on all the reasons we were wrong for each other in the relationship. How frustrated we made each other feel and how we always wished the other person would change. Needless to say, my initial reactions to his death were denial and anger. It somehow made me feel temporary relief to focus on the negatives or the hard parts of our relationship. I guess I convinced myself it would make me miss him less. Well, that worked for about a year, but now all I feel in my heart for Andrew is love. I feel a profound appreciation for his caring heart and deep soul, and all of the other reasons I was drawn to him in the first place. As I’ve shifted my thoughts toward love and gratitude for Andrew I’m finding that, yes, it does make me miss him more, but in feeling the pain of missing him I am on the path towards healing and acceptance of our loss.

I imagine had he lived, he would have found his true calling. I envision us at Oxford University (one of his dreams), Andrew pursuing further education, writing fiction novels, and speaking all over the world. I’m pretty sure I would be on the same path as I am now (coaching, writing, and speaking) and that Ellie would just be happy to be with her mommy and daddy. I think the cancer would have been a wake-up call for both of us to not waste another day just merely surviving, but living each day with purpose, meaning, and impact. I think our love would have grown closer knowing that we had come through one of life’s greatest challenges and that we stayed by each other’s side.

Since that dream will not become a reality, I will continue to live my life with purpose, meaning, and impact regardless of the naysayers and negativity of others. Because my heart is filled with the inspiration and the love of a man who changed my life by being true to who he was. A man who always sought truth regardless of what anyone else told him. He was brave and his bravery changed my life. I will thrive because of his love. Blessings.



12 Responses to “What Might Have Been”

  1. Jewell

    Bailey you encourage me with every word you write. Thank you so much for keeping me on your email list. I’m very grateful for all the encouragement you have given me. Keep up the blessings you are giving each of us.

    In His love, Jewell

    Jewell Sprabary 940-391-2275


  2. Mandy Morrison


    As you get more and more honest, transparent, and vulnerable in your posts, you really touch more and more people, like myself. 🙂
    I know this may sound really strange… but I’m so proud of you, seriously! 🙂 So many people try to act perfect and like everything in their life is perfect. It’s a temptation for ALL of us. We look around and think others are doing so well, so why do we feel like we do or struggle like we do? But when people are honest the way you are, it really helps everyone see that none of us are alone AND you infuse hope and truth at the same time. 🙂

    I don’t know what the naysayers and negative people are saying, but if they are saying anything about your honesty, transparency, and vulnerability… They are just plain wrong. 🙂 Jesus never, ever tried to “put on airs” or act any way that wasn’t truly who He was. (and He WAS perfect haha) 🙂

    Being a Christian and the reality of the Gospel is a funny thing… I have heard it’s “The Upside Down Kingdom”, because to the world it seems totally crazy, and it is completely opposite from the world. Those who are weak, are strong. Those who are proud are brought low. Those who worship anything other than God (including ourselves through wanting to be perfect or wanting things our way, we’ve all been there) are sinful, and we need Jesus to save us. COMPLETE dependence on the Lord is what Jesus speaks of, not self-sufficiency. He speaks of self-sufficiency as an illusion (we have no control! He does!). 🙂

    So basically, I’m not God and only God can tell you what is right and wrong and where He wants you, but I see MUCH of Jesus in you. More and more actually. 🙂 I see you saying “no” to trying to be perfect or appear perfect, and in that process, I see you as more beautiful than ever before. I mean this 100%. 🙂

    I love you, Bailey! And I hope we can hang out one of these days. But whether we can or cannot, I do love you, care about you, think of you often, and am praying for you! You are a blessing. 🙂

    Oh and one last things… remember that Jesus (again, the PERFECT One! God in the flesh!) was hated and ridiculed by SOOOO many. I say none of this to “preach at you” at all. I just so want to encourage you with things that have (and still do) encourage me so much when I look around and compare myself or want to be perfect by following my own way.

    He loves us SO much and is SO patient with us! PRAISE GOD!! 🙂 I don’t understand it, but I’m thankful for it! Love you! 🙂

    ~Mandy Morrison

  3. stateofwonderment

    PS- Sorry for all the smiley faces! haha They seem overwhelming now that my comment is posted, but hey… we both are smiley people, so hopefully it doesn’t freak you out. 😉

  4. Mark Alan Heard

    I always told Andrew he had time for many dreams. I was wrong. Nothing hurts a parent more than the loss of his child’s dreams. Andrew’s dreams live on in Ellie. Encourage those dreams. Hopefully she has the time her daddy never got. Happy anniversary to you and Eliie, Love PaPa Heard

  5. edulog

    I’ll immediately grasp your rss feed as I can’t to find your email subscription link or newsletter service. Do you have any? Kindly permit me recognise in order that I could subscribe. Thanks.

    • baileyheard

      Thank you so much for following my blog. You can subscribe by choosing the follow button that is below the picture of the pink couch. Once I post a new blog you will receive the post immediately in your email inbox. Hope that helps. Blessings.

  6. One Gentleman

    “I will continue to live my life with purpose, meaning, and impact regardless of the naysayers and negativity of others.”

    That is the best thing you could do, in my opinion. The loss of your husband was temporarily relieved by your assessment on the bad.

    Reality kicked in one year later, and now all you can think about is the good. Life is funny that way. You eventually realize later on, just what holds value. You guys may not have been perfect to others, but through your post here, it seems you guys were ideal for one another.

    Hold memories of him close, and revert back to them whenever you seem to long for his touch. It cannot replace the physical, but it is the best you can do at this point. I genuinely wish you and Ellie the best

  7. Judy Haire

    Really appreciate your candor, Bailey, along with your willingness to share your experiences with all of us. You are admired and loved! Judy Haire

  8. Sean Gardner

    Thanks for sharing your feelings. They are inspiring and this particular posting opens my eyes a little about how I might should look at the loss of my dad in a different way to accelerate the healing and move forward with purpose in life.

  9. Emma Bond

    I know that I am a year or so behind on reading your blog, but I am just now discovering your story. Your words are so beautiful and transparent and I am positive that so many people appreciate that.

    My father passed away from cancer when I was eleven years old. I am now seventeen and still feel the sting of that loss occasionally, but not as often and not as harshly. It does not mean that I do not miss him so badly that my heart physically hurts at times, but it means that the Lord has shown favor upon me by helping me heal through this entire process. My dad had cancer for the first eleven years of my life, being diagnosed when I was only six months old. Many of my childhood memories were spent in hospital rooms, sitting next to my sweet daddy as he fought for his life. Some days were better than others, and some days were absolutely terrifying. But I know that through it all, my daddy taught me more about love, Jesus, loss, and faithfulness in our short time together than many people learn in a lifetime.

    I am so inspired by your story, and reading about your daughter. Losing a daddy at a young age is not an easy thing, and there will be many struggles because of it, but I know that Ellie can take so much pride in the fact that her daddy lived a beautiful life, even in death.

    Thank you so much for your honesty and your desire to share your story with others in order to help them understand the grieving process and give them hope for their future healing.

    “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and rescues those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18

    xoxo, Emma Bond <3

    • Bailey Heard

      Hi Emma!!
      Thank you so much for sharing your heart felt story! I’m inspired by you and how you’ve taken such a challenge in your life, found the blessings through the pain and are using the inspiration from your incredible father to live a beautiful faith filled life. Your story touched my heart and I’m encouraged to read about the woman you’ve become and have hope that like you, Ellie will use her challenges to encourage others going through difficult seasons. Thank you for sharing your story here because I know that others will read and be moved and inspired through your experience! I’m so grateful that you have found encouragement here and I hope that you will continue to contribute and share your important life lessons! Blessings sweet Emma!