Even though it is cliche, I make New Year's resolutions. I don't always share them, but I find optimism and promise in making goals for the year. This year, I complete forgot about making a resolution as we recieved news that our dear cousin Eva was losing her battle with cancer. She passed away on New Year's Day, after a short battle with a rare and aggressive lymphoma. Eva was the kind of person that made an impression on anyone lucky enough to cross her path. She was an amazing daughter, wife, mother, and friend. In recounting some of our favorite "Eva stories", I found my 2013 resolution. This year, I will apply some Eva-isms to my life.
Eva-ism #1: Make people feel valued
Everyone who spent time with Eva, from family and friends, to those she taught or coached, felt valued by her. I remember spending weeks in NC during the summer when I was a kid. Eva usually took me shopping or swimming with her and her friends, and never made me feel like her little kid cousin (even though I was 4 years her junior which is a big difference at 12 and 16). In fact, I don't know if my aunt made Eva take me with her, or if Eva did it on her own- mostly because she always made me feel so included. But that was Eva, she always took time for people, listened to you, and made you feel that she enjoyed being with you.
Eva-ism #2: Make life fun
You couldn't spend time with Eva without smiling and laughing. During my summers in NC, Eva would wake me up by singing and dancing ridiculously. She would say "don't sleep your vacation away!" Sure, she could have let me sleep, or woken me up with a normal "wake up!" But that wasn't her style- Eva never did normal. Even while battling cancer, she made things fun with her quirky sense of humoer. At Eva's first chemo session, she took a picture dancing with her IV pole and joked about pole-dancing.
Eva-ism #3: If you don't like it, don't do it
While at a waterpark with our family one summer, Eva, Catina, and I grabbed some lunch. I don't remember what Catina and I had, but Eva had a slice of pizza. About halfway through, she took a bite, paused, and spit it back out. She explained "the pizza was gross and it hit me; I don't have to eat it." In a world where we feel like we have to finish what we start, sometimes we need to remember that if it isn't good for us, we don't have to keep doing it.
Eva-ism #4: Health is important
I'm not sure I've ever met anyone quite so healthy. As a teenager, Eva would blot the grease off of her pizza (while we lovingly mocked her "it's too greasy!"). Eva ate fruits and veggies. She also was a gymnast, a pole-vaulter, and walked and rode her bike regularly. I also know she brushed her teeth before bed, even on those nights when she was super tired and didn't feel like it. But that was Eva. She didn't make excuses for unhealthy behavior, she made time for healthy habits.
Eva-ism #5: Challenge yourself
Most people are content with riding a bike. Not Eva. As a teenager, she decided she wanted to ride a unicycle. While visiting over Christmas break one year, she brought her brand new unicycle and started practicing. To our amazement, she was riding around my parent's house in no time. Eva always seemed to pick a unique goal and would go for it. She would take the time, put in the work, and conquer each feat while making it look easy.
See, my cousin was a pretty amazing person. She managed to fit more life, laughter, and love into her 34 years then most people could hope to put into 100 years. I don't think I can ever fully explain how extraordinary she was. The best way I can think to honor Eva's memory, is to help carry on some of her awesome spirit. I invite you to join me, and apply a few Eva-isms to your life over the next year.