- (Photo: Courtesy Eva Piper)
Eva Piper, the wife of the author of the best-selling book 90 Minutes in Heaven, spoke to Fox News about what it was like for her to take care of her husband, how she reacted to the news of his death, the time after his return from heaven, and her new book, A Walk Through the Dark.
"You know, it was a hard time, it was a dark time," Eva said during an interview on Friday, of the time after her husband and Baptist minister Don Piper's accident on his way home from a conference in Texas when an 18-wheel truck struck his car in 1989.
"I'm personally terrified of the dark, not just the physical dark... but the fact …not knowing what's going to happen next. I'm the kind of person who reads the first chapter in a book and then skips over to the end to see how it turns out and then I go back and fill in the middle," said Eva, who now lives with her husband in Pasadena, Texas.
Eva said the family had no idea "if he was going to survive, then if he was ever going to be able to walk again, use his arm again or how long this was going to take."
"So this was a very dark time for me," she repeated. Don, whose book documents his experience of death and journey to heaven, has said his wife is the "real hero" of their ordeal.
Host Lauren Green asked Eva how she reacted to the news of her husband's death, especially since she was assured by God that He would take care of him.
"It was actually two weeks later before I found out that he had been pronounced dead, and by that time he'd been at a hospital for about two maybe two and a half weeks," Eva replied. "It was startling news, to say the least. It just reaffirmed the fact that God had told me He was going to be okay... Also the fact that it was true he had two broken legs and a broken arm; they were concrete facts... [Yet] I could hold on to that promise that He said he was going to take care of us."
Asked what challenges she faced when her husband was at the hospital, Eva said one of the hardest things she had to face was learning how to fill out insurance forms and how to pay bills. "I'd always let Don take care that, I ran the home, I did teaching at school and I took care of our children, I was involved in church, but I never was involved in paying, looking for insurance, taking care of the legal matters... those things I let Don handle... And suddenly, I was thrust into a situation where I had to deal with everything. It was very difficult."
Eva also spoke about her husband's depression following his experience. "He was so despondent, coming back from heaven, which I didn't find out until about a year and a half later," she said. "It was hurtful to me that he didn't talk to me, that he shut me out and I couldn't wrap my mind around why he wasn't glad to be alive again, why he wasn't glad to be back with our family."
But Eva, who was an elementary school teacher and the mother of three at the time, does not regret the hardships she faced.
"Well I've been involved in church since I was in nursery, I was raised in a Christian home, but as I walked through that I realized that my faith was really pretty shallow," she said. "I'd pray, but my prayer basically was, bless my family, take care of the missionaries. With this situation I had to really lean in to God. I had to really talk to Him, I had to really communicate with Him. And He communicated with me through for the Bible. It just made that relationship so much stronger so much deeper, to a point that I now have this relationship with my heavenly Father that I would not trade for anything. Even though I never would have wished for my husband to be re-hit by a truck… obviously, I still am so thankful for the fact that now my relationship with my heavenly Father is so much stronger than it was."
Eva added she's not the only one who has gone through a difficult time. "I think a lot of caregivers are kind of overlooked when they are dealing with and taking care of a loved one whether it's a car accident or a devastating illness." The caregiver, she added, "kind of gets pushed over in the corner because understandably a lot of people are very concerned about the person who's ill or who has been hurt."
Caregiving is a difficult job, Eva went on to say, "and I wrote this [book] to help people understand you can get through it, you can make it through."
Did she feel abandoned by God at any time? "No, I never felt that He abandoned me," she said. "I did question why He let the wreck happened to someone who was on his way to go back and preach at church, you know… how could this happen to someone who was doing what he was supposed to do?"
But it's better to question God than ignore Him, Eva concluded. "So any type of communication with God, I believe, is going to eventually turn into a positive."
Eva's book is "the story of a woman learning, step by darkened step, to go places she never thought she could go and growing into a person she never thought she could be."
"Packed with hard-earned wisdom about what it means to be a caregiver, to open yourself to the care of others, and to rest in God's provision, this book provides a dependable source of light to help you walk through the dark," the description adds.