Virginia Anne DePackh
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Virginia Anne DePackh
  • February 26, 1926 - September 27, 2017
  • West Hills, California

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Eulogy for Virginia Anne DePackh
October 3, 2017
St. Bernadine's of siena Catholic Church
Delivered by Charmaine DePackh

At 91 years and 7 months, my mother's long and adventurous temporal
journey has ended. When a person lives as long as she did, and
experienced so many of this world's wonders, joys, sorrows, triumphs
and trials, it is difficult to select an aspect of her to share with you this
morning.
She traveled the world, having visited every continent except Antarctica.
She hiked Mt. Whitney, walked the Great Wall of China, trekked to
Manchu Piccu, climbed the steps to the Parthenon and Masada, danced
with the Masai, supped with a shopkeeper and his family in Afghanistan,
safaried over the Serengeti, floated down the Nile and the Amazon,
visited the ruins at Petra, cruised the 7 seas, got lost in the subways in
Moscow, joined pilgrimages to Lourdes, Fatima, and Medjugorje. She
has prayed at the Basilica of St Peters in Rome, witnessed the faithful
break fast during Ramadan, joined the Hindus celebrate the Festival of
Lights along the banks of the Ganges, drank yak butter with Buddhist
monks on a mountaintop in Nepal, and meditated before the Wailing
Wall. I could go on, the world is large and she experienced so much of
it; the earth's natural beauties, and man's testaments of God and to
himself carved in stone, wood, and marble, but mostly she connected
with people. All of God's people, regardless of who they were, where
they lived, or what they believed. Sounds like a travelogue, but what I
want you to visualize is the women who ventured out into the world and
among its people, and who was brave, courageous and daring.

However, what I really want to share with you this morning is the
quality of her person. Many decades ago, my siblings and I nicknamed
mom The Ostrich, because we believed she hid her head in the sand. It
seemed to us, oftentimes to our dismay, that she was unwilling to
acknowledge the darker aspects of humanity. I often thought she was too
naïve, too friendly, and too trusting with everyone for her own safety.
She would get a call in the middle of the night from the American Red
Cross that there was a fire in an apartment in a seedy and scary part of
Las Vegas. they needed her to drive there and help the family. when
she would tell us about it later, we would respond with something like,
Mom, you should have called us; you can't go into that part of town
alone in the middle of the night, what if something bad happened to
you!! She would just smile and say why not go there, the lord will
protect me. Or even more often, she would respond with, what is wrong
with that part of town? The Ostrich, she chose not to see. She once was
asked to fly to Pennsylvania, rent a car and drive to help the Red Cross
in a flood disaster. We tried to convince her it was too dangerous, but
she just said she was needed and she would be okay. After awhile she
just learned not to tell us about her midnight rescue missions or inform
us beforehand when she was traveling alone, like to Calcutta, standing in
the airport without even a hotel reservation. But she always seemed to
meet good people who would invite her to stay with them or share a taxi
or a meal. She never seemed to stay alone long. She never seemed to
have a harsh judgment of people; she never seemed to notice people's
flaws or engage in criticisms of their imperfections. Even when we were
chopping people or events to shreds, she did not participate, she would
just smile and say she did not notice, or find something kind to add to
the conversation.

Years later, I changed my thinking about her naiveté. She was not an
ostrich that hid from the dark side of life, she was not a grown woman
with a child's view of the world, and how could she be? She had been
thrown many sorrows and challenges in her life, like being widowed at
33. She accepted each challenge with a positive approach and did not let
life or people defeat her rosy outlook on life. I learned her a most
valuable life lesson, that it is easy, and takes little effort, to see and point
out the weaknesses, faults, unpleasant, and even sometimes horrific
flaws of humanity; it takes more energy and deliberate and conscious
effort to look for the best in every person and situation. Head in the
sand, no....she saw the dark, but choose to see the light, the good in all.
She chose service to family, friends, and strangers. The evening of her
death, a new patient was put into the bed next to her. The curtain was
drawn, but my mom could hear the woman calling for a nurse. The
woman kept calling nurse, nurse...and my mom kept responding back
to her, OK, OK, I will be there in a minute. I could go on about the
admirable qualities of my mother, but gratefully there are too many tales
and stories and facets of her being to mention here..

My brothers and sister and I are blessed to have been raised by a woman
that taught us so many essential life lessons, we are blessed that we were
allowed to honor and care for her in her final years, we are blessed that
we were allowed to witness a woman who modeled her belief that all of
us are god's children. My mother, Virginia Anne DePackh was blessed
by God's Grace to be in possession of some of the most noble of human
traits....Compassion, Kindness, Service, and Duty. She firmly believed
she would one day be with God in paradise. I believe she is there
already.