An Appeal to Eve is a poem written about my grandfather’s sister, Eva. Unmarried and pregnant in 1923, Eva would leave home and go live with her maternal grandparents. As a result, she took her own life at only 16 years old.
Eva was never spoken of while I was growing up. I only learned of her existence well into my adulthood. I cannot imagine the grief this situation would have caused to both Eva and her family.
My aunt discovered one of Eva’s dolls last year and asked if I would like to have it. For me, Eva’s doll is a poignant reminder of Eva as a young girl and of the crisis she faced as a young woman who felt hopeless in her brokenness. I pray that although her story is sad that my poem conveys the possibility of hope even in the most desperate of circumstances.
This is the text of the note Eva left for her mother:
April 26, 1923
Dear Sweet Little Mother,
You have been the sweetest of all mothers and have done everything in your power for me and don’t think I don’t love you for I do but am so tired of being away from you and mother dear please forgive me for all the things you didn’t want me to do and for all the cross things I have said to you. And please be good to the *little boys and always remember me as your sweet little daughter.
*The “little boys” Eva mentions here are my grandfather and his two brothers.
AN APPEAL TO EVE
-by Terrie van Baarsel
what stories can you tell
of a girl who lost her way
buffeted by guilt
over the life she carried
and fatally bruised by shame?
please tell me her stories
of anguish fierce and grief sharp
of spiraling disgrace
heavy as stones
unrelenting to the crushing of her soul.
look at me
do you see her weakness as mine?
can you perceive the human condition
that binds us together?
and like the first Eve
and every woman hides and waits.
your silence bears witness to judgment and pain
but the question still remains
can human hearts once broken
be made whole again?
and how many eves do I meet on my way
and fail to offer up even a morsel of hope?
please tell her for me
and in the telling tell all eves
there is respite at the cross
where consequences to sin are limited by Grace
and mercy points boldly to the Gospel store.
(I hope she heard the sound of Him walking
in the garden
in the cool of the day…
I hope she heard His voice calling
“eve, where are you?”)
eve’s doll, you have not been forgotten and neither has she.