gratitude, Relationships

For My Friend Eva

This morning, I take a few minutes to celebrate my friend, Eva Deforest … 

As I write this, it’s only been 36 hours since Eva passed away peacefully, surrounded by family. My heart aches for the loss of such a beautiful human being …

Though our “actual” time together over the years might seem insignificant, her influence and her impact on me (and on my children) has been considerable … 

Our story begins with Eva (and Arnold) attending our wedding in late 2009 … time and again, she told me what a beautiful day and a beautiful wedding it was … 

Once we moved to Prairie River in 2011 and started to attend church at Robert Hall Mission, of course, our relationship flourished … she was ALWAYS happy to see us, and she always let us know … with her words, her beautiful smile, and the way she wrapped us in her long, loving arms … her enthusiasm and her zest for life was so admirable … she never missed a chance to sing in church, and always brought treats to share afterwards … 

In late 2011, Eva would celebrate our first daughter’s (Mackenzie) baptism with us … this tradition continued as she celebrated our second daughter’s (Madilyn) baptism in late 2013, prayed for us (and with us) through my challenging third pregnancy in 2017, then later witnessed the baptism of our final daughter (Cambri) in the spring of 2018. 

She took this picture for me …And I took this picture of her … 

To have Eva to be a part of ALL of these important milestones in our lives in the last decade or so has been such a gift … 

As we moved to St. Stephen’s church in late 2017, we would continue to see Eva (and Arnold) in church on occasion, and EVERY TIME we did, she made a fuss over us … she made a fuss over me … she made a fuss over my girls …

We have many reminders in our home (and in our photo albums) of Eva and her incredible generosity … we’ve had baby quilts, pot holders, and countless Christmas decorations all specially crafted by Eva, not to mention the truckload of pumpkins she and Arnold would donate to the girls’ playschool year after year after year … she was always busy creating something or contributing quietly in the background! She was always a “fixture” at Prairie River’s special events … the church tea, the community Christmas potluck, the rummage sales, and the like … again, generously donating to all of these wonderful missions … 

On a couple of occasions, we visited Eva on her farm in Prairie River … her gardens were of epic proportions, of course, and she shared MANY, MANY perennials with me (my oldest daughter still marvels over Eva’s tire swing) …  the kids got to tour her house one time (and see her amazing “creative corner”) … I had the privilege of sharing some fresh mint tea with her and talking about her beautiful houseplants … 

Halloween at Arnold and Eva’s always meant “big” treats, big hugs, and a whole lot of fuss over the girls’ costumes … we were all sad in 2020, when we stopped for a visit but weren’t able to give and share the big hugs we always do … we had no idea, of course, that this would be the last time we would see Eva … thankfully, she gave us some of her special poppy seeds the last time we visited … I pray that her legacy will live on with these (*fingers crossed that at least a little bit of Eva’s green thumb rubbed off on these seeds) … 

To lose such a kind, humble, generous, and beautiful soul definitely tears at my heartstrings … my heart especially breaks for Arnold at the loss of the love of his life … these two were just the sweetest … I often witnessed them holding hands … and their banter back and forth was always playful … my oldest daughter even wondered if Arnold should come live with us for awhile so he wasn’t too lonely … 

My heart also breaks for Eva’s children and grandchildren for the loss of their mother … the rock … the “bright light” … the source of incredible energy … and love … and jokes … a beautiful smile … and laughter … Eva’s laugh was so beautiful (and could be heard above a crowd at times) … 

I will surely miss Eva’s endless stream of kind words … to know that there will be no more comments from Eva on my blog posts … no more emails … no more text messages (to me or to my kids) with a little heart and “Le” signed at the end of her note brings me to tears … 

I close with this … 

Lord, I trust that Eva is wrapped in YOUR loving arms now (as she has wrapped so many in hers). Help me to have a heart like Eva … to have a spirit and a soul like Eva … to always extend kindness (and to make a “fuss” over people) … to smile … and give big hugs (once it’s safe to do so) … help me to be generous with my time (and my treasures) … help me to be humble … help me to smile and laugh like Eva … inspire me to be creative like Eva … help me to experience a life of contentment … a life of joy … help me to bask in life’s simplest pleasures … like sitting and having a cup of tea or digging in the dirt … just like Eva.

Thank you, Lord, for the gift of Eva in my life. I miss her so much already!

Amen.

3 thoughts on “For My Friend Eva”

  1. Perfectly said, Leanne. My tears are flowing as I miss her already too!
    We can all take lesson from and her zest for life.

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  2. Beautiful written, Leanne. My heart is full whenever I think of Eva. What a gift her life was. I sleep under her quilt every night. Thanks for helping me to grieve. Heaven has a magnificent new angel.

    Like

  3. Thank you very much for these beautiful words about Grandma. You have captured a true picture of who she was and who she’ll continue to be in our hearts.

    Like

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