Dear Dad

2944_69213312002_7104248_n

Since this year is my year of feeling, I would of course, be feeling your birthday extra deep today.

I don’t know a lot about what life was like for you growing up, but I imagine it was a whole lot of good for nothing kinda lovin.

As a parent myself now, I know you tried. You did however, screw up a million times over, and never really broke the parenting cycle you grew up with. I won’t deny the truth in that. I’ve felt it and paid for it two million times over, as I try and break those cycles.

Hard as heck. I get it now.

I’ll have you know though, I don’t really ever think about that.

More than the hard days, I remember you knocking on my door come Saturday morning, asking if I wanted to go to the cattle auction with you. Then riding beside you in your truck, not really ever saying anything, but feeling in my heart like everything was being said.

One of a kind feeling. Miss it so bad.

The way you would sit next to me on those auction seats, completely focused on your next purchase, but then allowing me to make one of my own every once in a while.

Remember that darn goat Lucky?! Yeah sorry, that wasn’t a good choice.

Come noon though, you’d hand over a 20 and know I’d come back with our regular – 2 cheeseburgers, 2 bags of potato chips and 2 cokes.

Thinking of that makes me smile, because you’re probably to blame for my addiction to burgers!

But those were our moments. Miss them so bad.

I miss knowing that when things got tough, you’d be there. In your own way, but there none-the-less.

If you were here now, you’d probably have a thing or two to say and I would probably disagree. But at the end of the day, the father-daughter bond that is there regardless of circumstances or situations, would out weigh our bull.

Today as I sit here and wish with every fiber of my being, that I could celebrate you being 66, I want to thank you.

Thank you for trying. Thank you for raising me to be who I am today. You never let me take the easy way out. You pushed me beyond my desires. You raised me to never give up. I wouldn’t be surviving today if you hadn’t. Thank you!

Dad, I love you. And I miss you so gosh darn much!

Happy 66th

 

Always,

Your Baby

I Must Be Missing Something

 

57be316507fd06a0e484db4ea183af2d

I recently visited a dear friend who is fighting (and loosing) her battle against ALS. As I walked the halls of St. Michaels with her in her wheel chair, I couldn’t help but feel like I was missing something.

To live a life consumed of things that when you get to that place, will be completely meaningless.

As I pondered that, I wondered if it’s possible to get it before you get there.

She said, ‘if I had a chance to walk again, I’d thank God for my legs everyday.’ I have never thanked God for my legs.

The reality of where her story is going is setting in, and I am convinced there is more to my days here on earth. Like I need to keep seeking what I feel I’m missing.

My breathing has been heavy again the last couple of days and I had hoped worship at church this morning would help, but it did the opposite.

They sang, Blessed Be Your Name. I think we all know it. How to sing it anyway.

When I’m found in the desert place

Though I walk through the wilderness

Blessed Be Your name

 Every blessing You pour out

I’ll turn back to praise

When the darkness closes in, Lord

Still I will say……

Really??

I must be missing something because when I found myself in the desert place, I did not have it in me to bless His name.

When the darkness closed in, I RAN!

To turn back and praise Him for every blessing He pours out, is a language I have yet to learn.

As I looked around the sanctuary at all the people, my breathing got heavier and heavier. Maybe they really mean it, maybe they would praise the Lord in the wilderness, maybe they’re all like Moses and I’m the only one like the Israelites.

I went to the throne to apologize for my lack of faith. As I paused to look into his face and beg for my breathing to get lighter, I expected to find him occupied and overwhelmed with gratitude from the multitude of people worshipping him this Sunday morning.

Instead I had his full attention, ‘you are not the only Israelite Eva, but would you like to be my Moses?’

Then I remembered, Moses died within sight of the promised land. Ugh….. ah, maybe not.

But, on the other hand, Moses always seemed to be seeking to get it and reminded others to do the same.

I may never get it until I get there and forever feel like I am missing something here on earth, but maybe that’s what it takes to keep me from getting comfortable and complacent.

That, I’ll take.

 

Until next time,

Eva

P.S. The image above made me smile, gave me hope 😉

Entry 6 ~ Anniversary Series ~ Final

Unknown

April 6th 2005

This was the first call.

I was supposed to take my cousin to my sister’s house but I was running late. I called my sister to see if she could come pick her up. She agreed without hesitation, then went on and on about her day. I was annoyed. Running late for class I didn’t have time to listen. She finally hung up and I ran out the door.

The sirens made their way through town around 11am, but I didn’t really hear them.

I had gone home for lunch and was sitting at the kitchen table eating a taco salad.

The phone rang.

“There has been an accident along this route and it looks like your sisters van, was she going out that way?”

Only because I had asked her to.

I couldn’t find the scene on the route I always took, so I decided to check the hospital. The ambulance and I pulled up at the same time. I was shaking so bad, begging for it not to be so. I ran up to the back of the ambulance, ‘I think that’s my sister in there,’ I said.

Then I heard my nephews crying.

‘We have 2 little boys here, could you identify them?’ They opened the doors…. I had to turn away….. It was them, bruised beyond recognition.

I couldn’t remember their names. It’s them I said, ‘but where is my sister?’

The look on the EMT’s face said it all. She’s not here, he said…….. ‘I’m really sorry but……. she didn’t make it.’

What did he mean she didn’t make it?! That had never happened in our family before. That only ever happened to other people.

I stood there stunned. Staring into space. Suddenly needing a bucket… and then my feet gave out.

I came back to it, lying on a bed in the hospital.

‘We need you to be strong, we need to contact her husband.’ Ugh, another wave. Her husband?! Bucket, get me that bucket.

My sister was dead. No longer breathing. No longer there to take care of her 4 children or love her husband.

Why hadn’t I just taken my cousin over there?!

I called my brother in law. Told him to come to the hospital, something had happened. I wanted to hold him when the truth hit him. I couldn’t hold him up.

Somehow your body breaks with your heart.

Then the oldest 2 kids. They were in school. How do you tell a child their mom is gone?! Forever.

That hallway was so cold. Their little eyes so worried.

Then my parents. Their oldest child gone. Dad was mad and started throwing blame around. Momma just cried. Big heart broken sobs.

This was the start of what my life is now.

I hear sirens now. Every. Single. Time. Really hear them.

I haven’t eaten a taco salad since. I’ve tried. I can’t. I see them and every emotion from that day comes back like it just happened.

This first call came and went before I knew the real Jesus. How people do death without Him is beyond me. The worst indescribable feeling I’ve felt yet.

Most thankful I have him now.

He tells me it’s not because I called her. My heart knows that but my head still fights that.

 

Always take the time to listen to your loved ones blab on, would you please?

Until next time,

Eva

 

 

Entry 5 ~ Anniversary Series

After my last post I felt a sense of peace. I owned my story and fully accepted it for the first time in 7 years.

Because I don’t know how to just sit in something for even a little bit, my mind immediately went on to the next anniversary and I got panicky. Like I can’t breath kind of panicky.

~~~~~~~~~~

People would often ask me, ‘how do you still believe in God after all that’s happened to you?’ Aside from 2009, I made it through some big stuff growing up and then another story in 2005 that you’ll hear about in April.

I could honestly always say that it had never been a question for me. How could I not believe in God? He had been with me through it all and I couldn’t imagine doing any of it without him. The big guy and I were tight.

I survived the whole 2009 horror. Without getting bitter.

Then March 21, 2013 happened.

This one is a doozy you guys.

I cannot write out the events of that day. Just thinking about it sends me straight into a deep pit of misery.

I can tell you that I HATE March 21. I had the worst day on Monday. Every bloody thing went wrong. By the end of the day I needed to lock myself away to maintain some form of sanity.

That day in 2013 is the day Gary had his first seizure, which led to his diagnosis of brain cancer.

People often say, it’s a good thing we don’t know what lies ahead of us, because we probably wouldn’t be able to handle it.

Yeah that’s about right.

This one has nearly killed me. One heartbreak at a time. Literally.

Before this, something would come my way and I’d push through it emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually.

If it brought glory to God, I was in. I could do it (more like he could do it).

This one made me bitter. Towards God. Towards people. Towards life.

To this day I don’t see ANY good in this story. In my heart I know God has shown up a million times (in fact he’s never left) but I don’t feel it.

This one killed my life long dream of serving internationally, only after dangling it in my face.

There was a point where it had taken off with every ounce of hope I had ever felt.

Sounds awful. It was.

You have to understand that I didn’t wake up one day and choose for this one to be different. I wish I could have just pushed through it again and praised God along the way. Believe me, in the beginning I tried. Then my heart and body just slowly started shutting down.

Beyond my control. Freakishly scary.

I’ve heard it all.

Pray Eva. Believe Eva. God loves you Eva. He’s got big plans for you Eva. Stay strong Eva.

It was all I could do to just keep breathing, but then not even that came natural.

I wish I could give you a happy ending to this story but no; I’m still in this one you guys. Knee deep.

This story is not what it looks like to the rest of the world. Perhaps one day I’ll be able to open this chapter of raw to you guys, but for now, please hear me when I say, never judge a book by its cover.

Just never judge, okay?!

Even though I’m still in the midst of this story, I’m at a place now where I’m starting to pick up my head again. Thanks to my spiritual mentor, psychologist and a handful of close friends.

I am dreaming again. Hope is back. (I like her 😉 )

I have no idea how this story will end. But I know I’ll be okay.

God and I are holding hands again and it’s beautiful.

I love Him. He loves me.

 

Until next time,

Eva

 

 

 

 

Entry 4 ~ Anniversary Series

46d1a509a779a25e9d8ee313f85b6011

March 11, 2009

We couldn’t put it off any longer. We needed to make a decision that day.

The final decision was made with a room full of people. Some that should not have been there.

No changes. No hope for them. No feelings, no emotions for me. 100% numb.

____________

Dad breathed his last an hour and half after the decision was made.

When he passed on my siblings cried for mercy, and I told them to keep it down for respect of others beside us.

Yep. That’s the stupidest thing to say, EVER, after family member number 5 has just died in less than 15 days.

I wish I would have said, ‘cry at the top of your lungs and fuck what others may think. Just let it out.’

We are so trained to live for those around us, even in our darkest moments, our feelings are denied. I hate it.

____________

Hours had passed and Nick kept holding on. It was late and no one was thinking straight or functioning at any level for that matter.

Get some rest they said, take the pager they said.

I had just pulled the covers over my face to try and block out the images of that day and the pager beeped.

Patient. Has. Passed.

That was it. It was over.

I was never going to be the same again. EVER.

I needed to get through one more funeral. I wanted to run.

 

Until next time,
Eva

 

Entry 3 ~ Anniversary Series

1400280603389

It’s been a few days since my last entry, and each one of those days is filled with weighted memories, but I needed some time, the last entry knocked the wind out of me.

Physically, emotionally and mentally.

I think the concept of how much our emotional pain affects our ability to function as a whole, is so often overlooked and under played.

Allowing myself to really feel through the emotions of that day, left me wanting to sleep for days. I probably should have, but instead I dragged my tired self through the days in a haze.

I convinced myself more than once, that I wasn’t going to do it again. Why would I put myself through feeling that, when it seems so much easier and less draining to just bury it.

Well, the haze has somewhat passed and the reality of what burying it does set in again, so here I am.

_______________________________________________

March 1 – March 5, 2009

The plane did land and a sea of heartbroken faces welcomed me.

I have since walked through those same doors at the airport a handful of times, and that image never fails to greet me there.

A sense of reality set in as I saw the gut wrenching pain in the eyes of each of my siblings.

I didn’t go home to make funeral plans for my momma and the sweet littles. No, not long after getting off that plane, I was sitting in a small cold room in front of a computer screen, with images flashing before me.

Words like grey matter, stroke, non-responsive, major damage, vegetable state and life support were all thrown at me like a knife to my heart.

‘You’ll need to make a decision soon’ ended that meeting.

I was so numb at that point, I can’t even put it into words; a state I am not sure the English language can depict.

I was still finding it hard to swallow through the fact that momma, Johnny, Neta and Tony were gone, and now I was supposed to think of ‘making a decision.’

They gave us a few more days. We needed to get home for the funeral of the other 4.

___________________

March 5, 2009

The funeral. Gosh I dislike funerals…. So, so, so much.

I grew up in a culture that believed in open caskets. Frick, I kid you not, I have seen everything under the blinking sun….. I won’t even get started on how I feel about viewings.

I saw momma for the first time at the funeral home, before the viewing.

Goodness I miss her. Hurts so bad.

I wish I could look back on that day and think, “we celebrated them well,” but that’s not the reality of funerals in that culture.

All the details of that day are not for me to share, for respect of others involved, but I can tell you this; according to my psychologist, a lot of my pain is not from the loss itself, but from the words spoken to me in that loss.

My heart remembers nothing but cold, gruesome, stark facts about that day.

After our final goodbyes, the dirt starting hitting the caskets and the wailing echoed far into the distance.

A piece of my heart was buried that day. Momma’s got it with her in heaven.

I picture the kids sitting on grandma’s lap, having some chocolate covered cookies. Sharing a few with Jesus of course.

I wish this was the end and rest awaited us in the following days. That was not the case.

 

Until next time,

Eva

 

P.S. For those of you that don’t know about my background. When the time is right I hope to write about what life was like growing up in ‘that culture.’ For now, this is all consuming.

 

 

 

Entry 2 ~ Anniversary Series

March 1, 2009

I had called my mom just before I got onto the plane. I told her that I loved her, she said, “Me too.”

This was big. I never, ever heard, ‘I love you’ growing up. Never. From anyone. I actually didn’t know that wasn’t normal.

My friend Lis and I graveled up for the long flight to Tel-Aviv. It knocked me out good and proper but my poor girl didn’t sleep a wink. She almost went insane.

We arrived in Israel late evening and since I had slept the entire flight, sleep eluded me. Lying in a new bed, in a foreign place, I wondered what the days ahead would hold.

At suppertime I had prayed, for God to prepare us for whatever he had prepared for us.

At around 3 am I had this gut feeling like something wasn’t right……..

_____________

Ugh, I don’t know if I can do this.

The raw details of the events that followed are buried so deep in my heart. I haven’t gone there in so long, if ever really. I have shared bits and pieces here and there, but never really felt it. This time is different. This year I’m feeling it. From deep with-in.

My supper wants out. My bones are aching.

____________

I couldn’t shake the feeling, so I finally turned on my phone to check the time. Much to my surprise, I had tons of messages. I didn’t think I had phone service.

The first message just said, “Eva, call us as soon as possible.” The second message said, “Eva something really bad has happened, call back please.” I don’t know why but I listened to message after message, until I was completely numb. I knew deep in my heart what had happened because of a ‘vision’ I had had about 9 months prior (that’ll be for another day).

I got Gary on the phone but he couldn’t say it, he just kept repeating my name over and over, until I finally asked, “My parents passed away, didn’t they?” He found his words and said, “They had an accident, mom is gone………..” I didn’t hear anything else after that.

Gary kept talking but I couldn’t make out what he was saying. His words all slurred together. My mouth was so dry, I was so numb, Lis was looking at me, pale as can be.

Then I felt this presence wrap around me and I caught my breath enough to mutter, “I’ll come back as soon as I can.”

I don’t remember much of what happened the following 12 hours. My girl Lis tells me I went 100% into survival mode with burst of tears.

The earliest flight I could get out was that day at 2pm, so I had the morning to go crazy. The team I was with was so gracious and supportive (Thank you Abe). They took Lis and I around to see a few sites. I don’t remember any of it. I have the pictures… I’ve never had a desire to get them printed. Those pixels carry so much weight.

By the time I got onto the plane that day, I had become aware of the awful reality that was now my life. I had lost my momma, two nephews and a niece, with my dad and brother in critical condition.

I sat down in my seat, buckled up and whispered, “Jesus, I’d be ok if this plane doesn’t land.”

What awaited me in the days ahead seemed insurmountable.

 

Until next time,

Eva

 

P.S. I don’t know that this post can hold the amount of emotion I felt typing these words. My heart feels pretty raw. I feel pretty naked. Like I’m letting the whole world into a place I find so hard to go myself. My body is begging me to release all the pain I have stored away for so long. To be whole again.

 

10398580_63435137002_2511072_n

About 7 hours after ‘the call.’ I have no recollection of this moment.

Forever grateful for you Lis!

Entry 1 ~ Anniversary Series

I have to admit; a large part of me wants nothing more than to run. Run until the fact that I need to feel through this, is no more. Since the day I agreed to feel and document through the anniversaries this year, tears have been rolling randomly and breathing hasn’t come natural. At the end of the day I know I need to. So here it goes.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

7ef5e71aaf6dcd5c2d4af327b01a41d1

February 24, 2009

It’s 8:30 a.m. and I’ve just gotten to work. I’m almost late (which has now turned into always being late) and my cell phone rings… Ach, I probably shouldn’t answer it, but the coast seems clear, so I do. It’s my momma, “Happy Birthday to you! I wanted to be the first to call and wish you a great day. You’re gonna come for cake later right?!” “Thanks mom! Of course, I wouldn’t miss it.”

After work I picked up my brother and we drove out to the farm. About half of the clan was there, including my brother Nick who was visiting from the great white north.

We visited, had cake and then some more cake.

The hot topic that night was me leaving for Israel that Saturday. Dad always had a way with words and showing his love for us.

“Flying all around the world…. That’s how people die you know.” “Mmm no dad, people die when it’s their time to go. You could die here just as easily as me flying to Israel.”

He’d shake his head and say, “You just don’t listen do you?!” “But dad, I’m going to walk where Jesus walked, isn’t that cool?” “I don’t need to walk where he walked here on earth, walking with him in heaven is good enough for me, and it’s good enough for you too!”

I’d roll my eyes and bit my tongue, vowing to dish out my frustration with my brother later on the drive home.

They clearly had reason to be concerned, but I was annoyed and was hoping for some support. Mom just sat there looking at me, like she did so often, wondering where I had come from.

Always going against what they knew. Always going up stream.

Leaving that night I hugged both of them and my siblings. My brothers of whom would say, “Go get em sis.”

We hardly got into the car and I started on my brother. Throwing my hands up, “I just don’t get it, why don’t they get that this is important to me?” Poor guy, knowing full well that saying nothing was probably his best bet. “They just don’t understand.” He’d say, “But hey, at least we have parents right?”

Little did I know…..

Until next time,

Eva

Silence

Web_MoveABodyCardBack

Silence is deadly and dangerous.

I grew up in a culture where someone else always had it worst than you. Where you couldn’t celebrate achievements because then you were boasting. Where you kept your mouth shut. About everything.

Sexual abuse. Shut it in. Emotional abuse. Shut it in. Broken marriage, mental illness, physical illness, fear, anxiety, rejection, pain, death.

Shut it in.

We still do.

We work hard to drive beautiful cars and live in fancy homes. We portray to be living the good life, but we’re not living.

We can count on one hand how many people we’ve had over in the last year. We live in cities full of people.

Alone.

If we were to do life with others they might see us. The us that we’ve shut in. They would see that we really don’t have our shit together. That we are broken.

That would be uncomfortable.

Instead, we add another thing to our schedule and keep breathing, but not really living.

We pick and choose what we want to feel. Not really feeling.

Our gaslight is on friends. We’re running low. That silence is sucking us dry and the enemy is having a hay day.

I’m breaking that silence. How about you?

 

Until next time,

Eva

 

PS. Over the next couple of months I plan to write real, hard stuff about different anniversaries coming up. I’m scared shitless and would rather not. It’d be ‘easier’ to just continue to not feel through them, but I know that until I really start feeling through ALL of life, I can’t really live in any of it.

What if

Unknown

“So much good is left undone because of our fear of the opinion of others” –  Peter G. van Breeman.

Sometimes I watch a movie or listen to a song and for that hour and a half or those 3 minutes I feel like anything is possible. Like I could really change the world.

Then I step into the world and that feeling vanishes.

The possible quickly turns into the impossible and I again feel very small.

The world is so big…. So many people everywhere…. With so many expectations.

That’s just it. People. Expectations.

I don’t know whether people actually expect as much of me as I feel they do, but somehow the feeling is there.

The sad reality is that many, if not most of my day-to-day doings are an expectation.

You may think that’s no so bad. Doing what is expected of you is a good trait. Maybe it once was and for some maybe it is.

But it’s killing me. It’s killing so many of us. One expectation at a time.

Somehow we’ve created this society with unreachable expectations. And everyday we push and push and push. Slowly people are falling over the edge and we don’t even realize because we’re all still too busy pushing.

Can we just STOP!?!

Like I said, I don’t know if the expectations are even still there literally, but we’ve done a good job of pushing them to the point where we can’t shake them mentally.

So much has been lost in these expectations. Jesus. Me. You.

I wonder how different we would live, were we really free. I can’t quite wrap my mind around it.

Perhaps breathing would come easier. Perhaps genuine faith would be restored. Perhaps uniqueness could be treasured. Perhaps we’d have the courage to make our dreams a reality and really change the world.

Life giving grace comes to mind.

What if we expected less and loved more?! What if?!

Until next time,

Eva

PS – Yes, I understand that some expectations are necessary for this world to function. That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about “THOSE” expectations. Yep those ones. You get it. I know you do.