My name is Joshua. I’m no longer of this earth, but I have a story to tell. It’s a story of a love so deep and so strong it transcends time and space. Eternal love.
This story really begins at my physical death, but I would be remiss if I didn’t share with you a little about the love of my life, my Eva. We met in our Freshman year of high school, she was the quiet,sweet girl with exceptional artistic talent, I was the boisterous, self absorbed jock. It never should have worked, but as soon as we met we knew it was meant to be. After high School my Eva went to college to get her art degree and I joined the military. We did the long distance thing for four years, telephone calls, letters and a weekend here and there when we could. As soon as she graduated and I finished my basic training and AIT, we got married and moved to my military base. Our little home was lovely, filled with the photographs she was always taking and the beautiful paintings she had created.
Life was good and our love continued to grow stronger and deeper. With three years of marriage under our belt we decided to start working on having a baby when our lives took a sudden and painful turn. I was given orders to be shipped over sea’s, to fight in a war that wasn’t even ours. There was no choice, I had to go. So with a long tender hug, a passionate kiss, and a tearie last look, I boarded my plane and headed off to war. Eva and I never said goodbye because she felt by saying those words it would somehow make it final. So instead we said “See you on the flip side.” Little did we know it would indeed be the final time.
Three long had gone by and my tour of duty was finally done and I was coming home. My return date was February 14th, Valentine’s Day, and Eva and I were so excited about being together again. But I guess Universe had other plans, because on February 12th a snipers bullet slammed its way into my body and ended my life here on Earth. Not knowing what had hit me I found myself standing up and looking around, only to find my lifeless body lying on the ground. And all I could do was scream out Eva’s name, and then, somehow, someway, I was back home.
Now I was always of the belief that when you died there was this this thin veil you went through, then a long dark tunnel with a bright light at the end, the souls of family and friends waiting for you at the top. Not in my case. One moment I was staring at my dead body, then the next thing I knew there was a popping noise and here I was, back home, watching my wife cleaning the house, getting ready for my arrival. Feeling so confused and quite honestly a little frightened, I called out her name, but she couldn’t hear me. All I could do was stand and watch as she cheerfully hummed a light hearted tune and went about her cleaning. Although I had no physical heart I could feel the agonizing pain where my heart used to be, because I knew what was coming next.
Two days later, the day I was supposed to come home, came that knock on the door that no military wife ever wants to hear. If I could have stopped her from answering the door, I would have, but all I could do was watch my happy, beautiful wife, full of anticipation, open the door to a pain no one should have to endure. Standing in their perfectly pressed uniforms were two officials from the military, one carrying a large Manila envelope in his hand, delivering the most devastated news imaginable. Eva didn’t make a sound, she just stood there, numb with pain. Taking the envelope that was handed to her, she nodded politely, said thank you and closed the door. Turning around and leaning her back against it, she slowly slid down to the floor. Clutching the envelope tightly to her chest she let out a keening wail that carried with it every ounce of pain she was feeling. Walking over to her, I tried to take her in my arms but I just slid right through her. “Oh my love” I whispered “I’m so sorry”
The next few days went by in a tortuous haze. Standing beside her at the burial I looked around at all the familiar faces of friends and family. I was buried with military honors and when they handed the folded flag to Eva, she remained strong and stoic. Taking it into her hands and placing on her lap, she lightly ran her fingers across the fabric, lifted her tear stained face and said thank you. After the burial, friends and family converged into our little house, bringing with them food, moral support and love. Then slowly they began to leave and Eva was left to herself, and then and only then did she allow the pain to overtake her. Curling up in the corner of the couch, my corner, she cried until she fell into an exhausted sleep. But even in her sleep I could feel her pain.
Looking up towards the direction of heaven I cried out to God, begging and pleading for a way to help my Eva. An Angel appeared before me, and with a wave of his hand a golden door appeared. Mistaking it for what I thought was my door that might lead to heaven I backed away.
“Be at peace my child” the Angel spoke “ this is not your way home. It’s not time yet. This door leads to Eva’s dreams. You may enter there to be with her again, but only for a limited time. Her mission here on earth is not complete, but without you she will not survive, for you are indeed one. Go to her and soothe her pain”
Not having to tell me twice I opened the door and stepped into her dream world. Looking around I could see a field of wildflowers, and in the very center was a large weeping willow tree. Sitting at the base of the tree was my Eva. Walking towards her I called out her name, and she turned her head to look at me.
“Oh my God!” She gasped. “Is that really you?”
Dropping down to the ground next to her I took her hand in mine. “ yes my love, it’s me”
“Joshua? How? How are you here?”
Taking her hand and bringing it to his mouth he laid a gentle kiss upon it. “I think we have been given a gift, a chance to continue, at least for a while longer.” Crawling into my lap Eva snuggled into my arms. “Well I don’t care why you are here, I’m just so glad you are” Laying a kiss on top of her head he murmured into her sweet smelling hair “So am I”
Every night I would walk through Eva’s dream door and we would spend hours together, living, loving and being what we should have been had I lived. We had a life, even if it was only in her dreams. Her eyes began to shine again and her day time world began to make sense. She started to paint and take her remarkable photographs, living, growing, being whom she was meant to be. I knew deep inside the time for me to pass over to the other side was coming soon, but I didn’t know how to tell her, and I didn’t know how to let her go. My Eva was my world, in life and in death.
All to soon my Angel once again appeared as I was getting ready to once again join Eva.
“Joshua” he said “It’s time to say goodbye. Eva’s needs to stand on her own now. There is a new life she needs to live and you can not be a part of it. You have done what was required of you, now it’s time to come home. You will have tonight to say your goodbyes” Feeling as if he had put a fist through my stomach, I nodded in acknowledgement. Knowing this time was coming, I knew what I had to do, but was I prepared to do it?
Walking through the door one last time I looked across the field and I saw my Eva waiting for me. My God she was beautiful. How was I supposed to let her go,she was my world, my reason for being. Walking over to her I tried to smile, but she could see the sadness in my eyes.
“What’s wrong my love?”she asked as she took my hands in hers. “Oh my darling Eva” I answered “Do you know how much I love you?.” Letting go of my hands she reached up and held my face. “As I do you. Please tell me what’s wrong”
A single tear slipped down my face. “It is time for me to go my beloved.”
Wiping away my tear she softly whispered “I know.” Taking her my arms I held her close, dying inside at the thought of leaving her again.
Pulling free Eva once again took my hands in hers. “Joshua, when you died, a part of me died with you. I had nothing to live for because you were my world. But my love, you gave me back my life, and I know you will always be with me. I’m not done here yet, but when I am, I know you will be there to take me home. I love you now and I will love you always, but it’s time for you to go home. I will be with you again before you know it” God how he loved this women. Taking her back into his arms he held her close for the last time. “Look behind you Joshua” Turning his head he saw a bright white doorway and his Angel stood beside it.
Kissing my Eva one last time I turned to walk away, and as I was just about to pass through my door I heard her say “See you on the flip side”. Smiling gently as I walked through to the other side I said “See you on the flip side”.