A word to fellow Ukrainians abroad as we bid farewell to Nadiya Svitlychna
Ukrainian custom dictates that during a funeral we speak those words of parting which we believe the Deceased would herself have said. Yet clearly none of us could hope to utter those special words of love which Nadiyka bestowed upon us – the charm of her voice was unique. Just as unique was the trace that she has left in the heart and in the life of each one of us. Yet before Nadiykas body finds its eternal resting place on Ukrainian soil, on land so wronged and trampled upon, so seeped in pain and suffering, I would like to address a word to America and those good people there.
The wind of history periodically becomes a storm for gentle Ukrainian flowers and drives them either to the East, to Siberia and Zeleny Klyn (the far east of the former USSR), or to the West, to the vast expanses of the United States or Canada. The wind carried Nadiyka to that far off shore and it was Gods great blessing to her that that shore became for her a hospitable refuge. We all know that her life was never easy. However she was able to achieve such important, I would say mission-like, work for Ukraine only thanks to you, her enormous and ever-reliable support. Nadiyka has now fallen silence for ever, yet we, her friends, can bear testimony to the real gratitude which filled her heart to all of you. Gratitude that you tended her wounds, greeted an exile and gave her shelter. That you took her in and shared with her your hard earned bread. Among you she found the willingness to give of yourselves which she had lacked in Ukraine amid a spiritually devastated people.
Nadiyka was able to part with almost each one of you during her courageous preparation for that final journey. Few are able to leave this life with such true Christian dignity. Today the branch of that distinguished Svitlychny family, known to the entire Ukrainian Diaspora by that tender and family-like name “Nadiyka” is parting with you for the last time. May all earthly matters which divided you fall away! May those moments in which human nature let itself be heard louder than was needed be forgotten!. May the Lord take her purified soul, cleansed by our love and fondest memory, for all of us can testify before God that hers was truly a worthy life and one of immense giving.
I beg you not to be angry that we have taken Nadiyka from you. She was in truth Ukraines Cultural Attaché, and such “diplomats” must return to their native land. However send with her a handful of American soil. May it be blessed for sheltering our ever-remembered Nadiyka!