A Bound and Struggling Spirit, a Free and Humane Spirit by Evamaria Erdpohl
My name is Eva. I am German. I met Evelyn in 1979 when she helped my brother Wilhelm to persuade me to leave the Moonies.
When I returned to California in 1982 to study at UC Berkeley for a year, we became friends. She was very very important to me. She had started to grapple with her illness by then.
I went home to Germany in 1983. I called her every Christmas and around her birthday and we had long talks. I saved money and flew over to Berkeley every 3-4 years in the following years. Her health was steadily deteriorating. I would spend a week in her apartment – first at Hopkins, later at Pierce Street – and clean her bathroom, go shopping with her (she was using a scooter by then and had to heavily medicate herself to be able to go out at all) and enjoy her company and our conversations. She had a sticker that said “My health insurance is killing me”, which she gave to me. I would – an still do – curse her health insurance.
In the 90s German and Swiss friends – a group mostly connected to her anti-cult activities – organised a medical check-up in a clinic in Zürich, where I visited her, staying with Fräulein Flesch.
Evelyn was offered a possibility to stay in Germany, where accomodation had been arranged and where she would eventually have qualified for German health insurance. This had all been arrannged with the help of the Einstein Foundation in Germany, I believe.I don’t exactly remember the details. She was homesick and unhappy. She missed the Bay Area and her friends there. She decided not to stay in Europe.
I could understand that decision. And yet I could not understand it at the same time. I do not know if she had lived longer and/or healthier, had she stayed in Europe. But I know that she would have had caring people over here as well.
The last time I visited her was in 1998. We continued to talk on the phone once or twice a year. In the last years, she asked me to announce a call first on her answering machine and set a certain time and date, so that she could medicate herself in order to be able to pick upthe phone and speak. The last time I talked to her was about a year and a half ago.
I send her letters and postcards from every holiday I ever made in the past 32 years.
“She was a tortured soul and the older and more ill she became, the less she could deal with everyday life.” I completely agree with this statement by Ruth Elizabeth Migliore. I find it very difficult to describe the content of the conversations we had on the phone. But I do believe that she trusted me.
I want to say thank you to all the people who cared for her and helped her during the last years.
She taught me what it means to be a free and humane spirit. She taught me what it means to be a bound and struggling spirit.
She will always stay a part of my life. I loved her very much.