It’s hard to believe it has been almost 2 years since Eva died.
Eva was only here for 10 and a half months, less than half the time she has already been gone, but I will feel her loss and the hole she left behind her for the rest of my life.
With her anniversary coming up I’ve felt her presence and her loss thicken in me and bubble to the surface. Her face is never far from my mind and her presence in my heart brings me both enormous sadness and a certainty, pride and confidence I’ve never experienced.
Having Eva in my life has transformed me. In the next episode of the podcast, my guest talks about how parenting her second daughter has put her through the refiners fire. When she said it, something inside me clicked. That’s what Eva did for me and with me. She changed me. She forged me. She gave me armour, changed my soft thin skin into a shield to protect us both. It wasn’t always pleasant. Sometimes we had to just sit in the flames together, but when we stepped out we were better because of it. I was better because of it. I had my shield, and my sword, but I also had opened my heart to the biggest love I would ever experience, and that combination of strength and love, armour and vulnerability, was worth any burns that came with it.
I wish so much that Eva got to see how much she changed me. I wish I got to tell her, either through words, or actions, or signs on her chest, every day how special she was and how much I loved her. But our time was limited. Now I have to trust that she knew those things when she was here, that she felt them and sensed them in every touch and cuddle and kiss.
In the days leading up to her anniversary, I have gone to bed at night and imagined her curled up on my arm, our foreheads almost touching, as we often slept when she was unwell. Her tummy would poke forward towards mine and my arm would cradle around her, with a pillow behind to stop her rolling. We spent so many nights that way, in hospitals and at home. It wasn’t a position that allowed much sleep for me, but it never failed to settle her when she was unhappy. We cocooned ourselves, taking comfort in each other and blocking out the outside world. We were our world.
I remember watching her bleary eyed, hoping for sleep for myself, but now looking back, I’m glad sleep wasn’t always there. Because now I have this memory to hold onto, of my body wrapped around hers, my armour strengthened and ready to defend her, while our hearts beat side by side in unison.
I am grateful for this forging, refining experience. I just wish it hadn’t come at such a cost and Eva could be here to enjoy it with me.