7 julio , 1942 – 28 abril , 2021
We are here today to celebrate the incredible life of my beloved Mother – Valentina Mykulenko Luchkan – a woman whose selfless love touched so many and whose life truly made a difference, particularly to me, as well as to so many others. Valya, as she was known to many, was born on February 4, 1942 in the small city of Kamiyanka in Central Ukraine, to her parents Ivan and Anna Mykulenko. She was the youngest of three siblings – she had an older sister, Laryssa, and an older brother, Yura, with whom she has now been reunited. Born at the height of the Second World War, my Mother, together with her family, endured many hardships related to the war. Caught between the Nazis in the West and the Soviets in the East, the family was forced to flee from Ukraine in 1945 so that my grandfather could avoid compulsory service in the Red Army, which he strongly opposed. This decision to escape was a crime in the eyes of the Soviet government and placed the family in danger of death, imprisonment or exile to Siberia, if caught. Like so many other refugees at the time, the Mykulenkos left their home, with only a few belongings and some livestock, and headed West on foot, with the goal of reaching Germany where they could then take refuge in an American-run displaced persons or DP camp. The family faced many dangers along the way – air raids along the roads, hostile border guards, a daily struggle against starvation and the elements, and the fear that they may be captured by the Soviets and forced to return to Soviet occupied Ukraine. But they also encountered many instances of human kindness – frequently being offered food and lodging by good people. In Germany, the family often sought shelter in the ruins of abandoned buildings. Because my grandfather was an engineer, he was sometimes able to set up electricity in these places to provide comfort for his family. Meanwhile, my grandmother would go and exchange eggs, or other products, for food. They often cooked their meals over a small fire outside. Although only a small child at the time, my Mother remembered many things about the war – things a child should never have to remember – like, being in church during an air raid and feeling the foundations of the church rock, then fleeing to a bomb shelter for safety. There, she and her siblings would play games like Cat’s Cradle to try and remain calm. Often, afterwards, she and her siblings would find little treasures among the rubble, such as toys left behind by German families. Once the family was situated in a DP camp in Germany, life improved. The children attended school, made friends, and had some semblance of a normal childhood. My mother recalled how she and her sister would dance for the American soldiers stationed at the camp, who surely missed their own kids back home. The soldiers would often give my Mother and her sister candy, chocolates or gum. At the DP camp the family lived in a single room instead of in communal barracks. My grandfather provided his engineering skills in return for this luxury. While in the camp, my grandfather made a coop for the family chickens. One black chicken became my Mother’s favorite pet, and she would always smile and laugh when talking about this chicken, as it was a particularly funny creature. My mother would care for this chicken, and even dry it with a towel when it got wet from the rain. “Poor chicken!” she would say and cry at its misfortune. Maybe that’s how her love for animals began, as we would have many pets in our home in the years to come. Eventually, the family was sponsored by a Ukrainian priest in America and made their way by boat, through Ellis Island, to New York City. My Mother arrived in NYC a teenager, and eventually found work on Madison Avenue, while studying opera during her spare time. She had plans to apply to Julliard, but fate intervened and she met her husband, Yaroslaw, at a Ukrainian resort in Upstate New York where she was working for the summer. They married and took up residence in CT. It was then that my Mother created her own family and became the person that I knew best – a loving, caring mother and the nucleus of our home. But in 1973, tragedy struck and my father was killed in a plane crash. My Mother was forced to take on the role of sole provider for her two small children. She took up many jobs to make ends meet and provide for our needs, while studying to become a nurse. Eventually, she was hired in one of the medical departments at Aetna, where she worked for 15 years. My mother worked very hard to be a good provider. But she was so much more than that. She was an opera singer with an incredible voice, who sang in the choir at The Bushnell Theater. She was a talented, self-taught artist who painted incredible, life-like portraits. She was a friendly person with a great sense of humor who had the most beautiful laugh – it sounded just like a melody! But above all else – she was a wonderful mother. Even though she had to work full time, she always made time for us, for our activities and for our interests. When I was older, we travelled to Ukraine together where she was finally reunited with many of her family members, including her cousin Evdokia Voitsekhivska, who still lives in Kamiyanka. There are those who say that a mother’s love is the strongest love there is. I believe that this is true. My Mother spent her life showing her unconditional love for me, for my brother and for our family. She was the rock upon which we built our foundation, and her love and encouragement gave us the strength to tackle our own hardships in life. My Mother is my inspiration. Her determination and selfless love have made all the difference in my life. And she is survived by so many others, besides myself, whose lives she has impacted - her son Sviatolslav Luchkan, her grandchildren Julian Finn Luchkan and Aurelia Katia Luchkan, her nieces Anne Ficarella and Liza Donovan, and her extensive family in Ukraine. My Mother’s life was not always an easy one – but it was a life well lived. And I know, in a way, that her life will never be over, because she will live on in her children, in her grandchildren and in so many others who will continue to love and remember her. Dearest Mama, Rest in Peace with the Lord knowing that you made a difference with your incredible, selfless love. We thank you and we honor. Tsarstvo Tobi Nebesne Mamo. The family will receive relatives and friends on Thursday, May 6, 2021 from 4-6 p.m. at the D’Esopo Funeral Chapel, 277 Folly Brook Boulevard, Wethersfield. Burial will be held on Friday at St. Andrews Ukranian Orthodox Cemetery, NJ. For online expressions of sympathy to the family, please visit www.desopofuneralchapel.com.
jueves, 6 mayo , 2021
viernes, 7 mayo , 2021
Un pensamiento al que aferrarse
Un servicio funerario lleno de compasión y detalles trae consuelo y sanación a familiares y amigos. Planificar por anticipado brinda tranquilidad a las personas más cercanas a usted. Estamos aquí para usted y su familia cuando esté listo para pensar en la planificación por adelantado de los arreglos finales.CONOZCA MÁS