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A true Valentine story of true love and devotion
A story of pain and sorrow and a special love.
Eva was a little girl with big brown eyes and short curly brown hair. She lived on a farm with her father and two older siblings. She was only five years old when her mother left, never returning for her. She spent her days dreaming of a life away from the farm. She started school when she was six, this was to be the most fun time in her young life, here she met a teacher, Anna Lee, and her lonely life changed forever
Anna knew she was a gifted child the first time she watched her draw a picture, later she told Eva that her talent was amazing. She was able to bring life into the characters effortlessly.
She spent the summers helping on the farm, fishing in an old blue hole pond, hunting with her big brother Fred and learning to cook and keep house by watching her big sister Mary.
She was always thrilled and ready for school to start again and especially happy to see Anna Lee who treated her as if she were her own.
As the years passed she developed into an accomplished artist. She started to paint pictures as well as sketching.Anna Lee bought supplies for her, feeling that someday she would see her pictures displayed. ( I might add that she has many pictures on display in her home town. )
When she was fifteen an older sister ( Bea ) took her to a holiday inn lounge to see a live band ( Her first. ) soon a young man came over and asked her to dance. ( Her first. ) She later said that she fell in love with him that night. His name was Lyle. He was tall and lanky with blond hair and sky blue eyes. He worked for the state of Indiana at the license bureau.
They dated all summer, getting to know each other and falling deeply in love.He asked her to marry him, kneeling on one knee, holding a shiny small diamond in his hand. She was so excited, her first love. She told him " Yes " Without hesitation.
Her father had to sign papers because she was underage. They were married at the courthouse by a Justice of the peace. They moved into a little rental house in the country. She loved to decorate, spending her days fixing up her little house, cooking and doing what she loved, painting.
They were happy and contented together,Lyle had an oppurunity to relocate to a better paying position in Atlanta Georgia, so they packed up, moved and settled in, happy to be living in a beautiful city. Eva spent her days making a home and painting.
One day she decided to drive out in the countryside and find a scenic spot to paint. She had driven about twenty miles when she noticed an old abandoned farm with beautiful blooming cherry trees, she pulled in, set up her supplies and began to paint. When she finished she wanted to see the painting at a distance, she started backing up, not noticing where she was stepping, suddenly she felt herself falling. She had stepped into an old uncovered well, landing on an old rusty pipe at the bottom of the well. ( She later learned that she had fallen twenty feet. ) She sustained a fractured back, arm, leg, a ruptured colon and bladder, plus a serious head concussion. She was in and out of consciousness for hours, so weak she could barely whisper, " Help "
A hunter and his dog were passing by the well when the dog stopped and began to sniff at the well. The hunter listened closely and heard a soft whisper, realizing the sound was coming from the well, he looked down and saw her. He immediately called 911 on his cell phone. The ambulance arrived within minutes. The rescue team went down into the well and carefully placed her on a gurney.
She was rushed to the Emory Hospital in Atlanta and taken to surgery. She died twice on the operating table, both times revived by CPR. She was permanently paralyzed from the waist down, her bladder had to be removed leaving her with an opening on her side for urine drainage into a bag. She had a serious infection in her leg due to bacteria in the stagnent water in the well.
Lyle called her siblings and informed them of her dire condition and the Doctor's statement that she may not survive. They went to Atlanta and stayed at The Ronald McDonald house until she was our of danger. She spent months in the hospital before discharged.
They decided to return to Indiana where she could be close to her family. Lyle returned to his job with the state. They bought a home and renovated it into wheelchair assessibility.
Eva never once let this keep her from doing what she loved, painting. Oh she had days when she wanted out of ' that chair '. but she kept busy, she could dust her furniture, cook and wash dishes, plus her painting was more beautiful than ever.
Lyle bought a van with a wheelchair lift, they traveled some, went to the movies. ( She still claims today that the best movie ever made was Clint Eastwood's ' Bridge of Madison County, ) Lyle loved to plant a garden and flowers, he also became a really great cook.
One day he told Eva that he was not feeling well and went to see the Doctor, explaining that his pain was in his stomach. A MRI was ordered, revealing a large malignant tumor in the stomach which had metastasized into the surrounding organs. It was inoperable. He remained at home for awhile but the pain was so severe he had to be moved to hospice care. He only lived two weeks.
The remarkable aspect of this story happened the night he passed away. Eva was lying in her bed, the light above her headboard flickered twice. immediately the phone rang, the Doctor calling to inform her of his passing.
She will tell you today that the light never flickered before and never again. There is not a shadow of doubt in her mind that it was Lyle telling her " Goodby " his spirit en route to meet God.