Obituary of Vida Vrckovnik
Vida, 88 years old, passed away on Saturday, January 2, 2021 surrounded by family and embraced with love. Loving wife of the late Anthony (Tony). Fondly remembered by her three children: Sonya (Philip Valant), Irene (Dr. Ameen Patel), and Gary (Caroline Bachynski); eight grandchildren: Eric (Janice), Erin (Geoff), Alexandra, Andrew, Matthew, Katarina, Alison, and Trevor; and all her friends and extended family in Toronto, Whitby and Slovenia.
To almost everyone, she was simply known as “Nana”. Nurturing, highly loving, and authentic, she was the quintessential mother and grandmother. However, to those who knew and loved her, Nana was so much more than this cherished title implies.
Born in 1932 in Celje, Slovenia (the former Yugoslavia), Nana's youth was marked by the tragedies and tribulations of a devastating and cruel World War II and the ensuing vicissitudes of Communist control. Nana never let her early challenges control her future, nor how she lived her life. Instead, she chose to cherish the values instilled in her of courage and compassion, kindness and generosity, love and loyalty, grace and gratefulness, humility and honesty. While Nana treasured her cultural history, she also followed her heart into a new world to live a full and rich life in Canada.
Nana arrived in Canada in 1956 as the first person to leave her old country with legal permission. Her departure was so novel that the local newspaper featured her photo and story! Indeed, she was a sight to behold. A young woman, arriving on her own, to a new land of challenge and promise, having to adjust to a new language and culture. She took a leap of faith, armed with her inner resourcefulness, positivity, and her abiding faith in the future with her true love, Tony.
The wonderful attributes of Tony and Vida were intricately weaved. They were true partners in every way, hand in hand, heart to heart until Tony’s death in March, 2010. Their life together was an original and inspired love story of family, faith, fun and felicity. Together, Tony and Vida raised three children in Oshawa, who grew up to be professionals with their own happy families. Tony and Vida shared passions for gardening, golf, travel and spending winters in Florida. Nana’s indoor orchid garden was award-winning and ever blooming.
Whilst Tony regaled us with delightful stories, Vida was the ever-attentive listener, always letting others shine. While never feeling the need to be a star, she was truly a leading lady in all of our lives. She was not just a devoted wife; she was a wonderful female role model. Nana taught her children to be kind, to be responsible, to include others, and to always appreciate all of life's gifts. Nana was empathetic and had a unique way of making everyone feel special. She shared her powerful and profound love of life generously and absolutely with her family and others.
Nana inspired her children and grandchildren to be the best they could be and to never stop learning. While Tony worked hard to advance his professional career, Vida created a loving, safe and vibrant home. Her baking and gourmet meals were especially cherished by family and friends. Vida proudly shared her recipes, as well as the great traditions of her past life embracing all the opportunities and traditions that Canada offered to her and her family. She exemplified the tenets of her Catholic faith, especially her deep and unabating sense of love, forgiveness, and gratitude. She welcomed everyone into her home and heart. She treated her children's and grandchildren's spouses, families, and friends as she treated her own. She adored, admired, and cherished her children and grandchildren and was always proud of them. Unfailingly generous and gracious, she never expected anything in return.
How prophetic that Nana's parents named her Vida! Vida means “life”. Vida showed us all how to live our lives with purpose, courage, grace, love, laughter, and a pioneering spirit. A philosopher once advised, “days are like scrolls, only write on them what you want remembered”. Nana will be remembered for all things bright and beautiful. We will honour her by emulating her kindness and strength. She will be greatly missed, but her memory will be a blessing to us all.
We thank the Temmy Latner Centre for Palliative Care and Vida’s entire care team for their kindness and compassion, including Dr. Walji, nurses Priscilla, Nelli, and Savona, and caregiver Mercy. Our sincerest appreciation to our dearest friend, Dr. Maria Muraca, who is truly an angel on earth and helped guide Nana peacefully through the end of her life. Dr. Muraca’s unwavering support, professional expertise and friendship will always be treasured. We are also grateful to Nana’s son-in-law, Ameen Patel, for his excellent medical guidance throughout her aging years.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Vida’s name to the Temmy Latner Center for Palliative Care would be appreciated. There will be a private funeral and interment. Condolences may be forwarded through www.humphreymiles.com.