Eva is bright and warm. She has an asymmetrical, haircut, light brown curls and olive skin. Now, in her forties, and a mother to three, she moved to the United States from Mexico when she was just 17 years old.
“It took me awhile, but now I’m from here,” she said.
She often comes to Wellspring after volunteering at her son’s elementary school.
At Wellspring, located in an old firehouse in Sacramento’s historic Oak Park neighborhood, Eva gets a light snack to temper her blood sugar. But, more importantly, she is able to bond with others to quell the loneliness of her depression.
“Sometimes I come here for a hug from Sister Judy,” she said. “There is also a lady named Martha, I come just to give her a hug.”
Eva on occasion donates food to Wellspring.
For seven days, Eva was hospitalized for her depression.
“I know that life has beautiful things, but right now I’m in between,” she said.
Recently, she fled an abusive husband and cared for her father who suffered a stroke. She also suffered the loss of her brother. Relatives and friends living in Mexico tell her of horrible acts of violence that are ravaging her hometown.
Her life is in transition.
With her children, a jar of coins and a half-filled gas tank, Eva left her husband and home to seek safety at a shelter for victims of domestic violence.
The crisis shelter did not provide food and Eva and her family lived off of $20 from a niece until they could receive food stamps.
“If I knew Wellspring was here when I got out of the house, I could have come here with my kids and had at least one meal a day,” she said.
Though Eva said that she never wants to live in a shelter again, she extracted one valuable lesson from the experience — how to be alone.
While her life was in tumult, her dad – a farmworker whose knees are damaged from the long hours of kneeling while picking vegetables Milipitas, CA. – suffered a stroke. She visited him twice a day during his hospitalization.
Doctors placed a feeding tube in his stomach, but ceased his physical therapy when his insurance company claimed that it wasn’t making any progress.
“I said, ‘I can’t treat my dad like he is a piece of furniture and put him aside,” Eva recounted. “He is a human and he is my father.”
Along with her brother, Eva brought him to Mexico to be with their mother – where he could receive better medical care.
“My brother, the one who passed away, had to carry him like a little boy onto the plane,” she said.
Now, Eva is taking time off of work so that she can care for herself in order to care for her children. She does arts and crafts, yoga and prays for therapy.
Eva was first exposed to yoga at Wellspring.
“It was like meditation because it was like praying,” she said. “You really concentrate and do it with faith. The time I came, it was perfect. I came with my Sister-in-law and the instructor was talking about self-esteem. I can’t afford to go to a place, but now I do it on my own now.”
Eva eats well and says that nutrition helps fight depression. The morning we talked, she had a spinach, banana and chia seeds. And at 88 years old, her father is able to eat on his own. They are both in recovery.