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In Memory of Patricia Vepari: 1983-2005






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It was one of the most shocking calls I'd ever received on the 3rd of February - Pat was in the hospital. A million thoughts were running through my head at that point, but the overriding one was that I needed to be there.


She was one of the first people I met and got close to in this university. We were part of the same frosh group, and it was always comforting to seek her out in the crowd in this big, scary university where nobody knew anyone else. It was something that so few seemed to understand: the feeling of being completely lifted out from home and placed in a place where you don't know the place or the people, and something we talked a lot about in our first weeks here. Indeed, this was one of the things that drew us (as a group) all together - the fact that we were all from far away.


But moreover, she was the one that kept a sort of balance in my life. In my first days at this university, she was one of the people who kept me in check and made sure I did not go completely nuts. She was the one that said "Jason, calm down!" when life got difficult, or when I was annoyed, and always was able to make one see the best things in their life - shifting the focus away from the bad and looking towards the good. There's always people around you that tell you to "cheer up!" when you're down, but you can tell that she was one of the few people that actually meant it from deep inside her, not just a token gesture.

Patricia Vepari
Probably the best photo of her I have in my collection. She always had this ability to do this to photos she was in :)


She was one of the few people who were willing to help out in subjects I struggled in - most notably chemistry, a subject which made no sense to me at the time (and still doesn't to me now). But Pat somehow still made the effort to make me understand what the heck everything was about. That caring, kindness, and patience she had was a true virtue, one quality that I try to mimick, but I don't believe I could have ever shown that kind of patience with students I had taught as a TA in Fall 2004. I talked with her on occasion during my time as a TA, and there were many a time when she reminded me that being able to teach is a gift, and that I should use it wisely.


I could never understand how she was so cheery in the face of so many things to do. We would sit down for lunch, talk, and sometimes she would talk about school problems, and I would do the same... but then the conversation would drift to the book she was writing, music we had discovered (we both took an interest in Celtic, new-age music), and I would always end up out of South Campus Hall ready to take on the rest of the day.


I guess I'm still in a state of disbelief and sadness that she's gone, and my thoughts aren't really coming out in any coherent manner. But in leaving us, I think she has managed to achieve something that she had always pursued - the gathering of people, the sharing of happy moments, living for the present.


In life, we take so many things for granted, and friends are one thing that sometimes one takes as a constant - after all, they'll always be there, right? Sometimes it takes something dramatic to remind us all that life is fragile, and that in the blink of an eye, your entire world can change around you.


On 4 Feb 2005, the world that was touched by Patricia was profoundly changed. But for better or for worse, we must continue on, since in leaving, she has left us something that was always there but we may never have realized:


She has brought out the best in all of us, and made us discover the value of having each other. She has brought us closer together than ever before. And one knows that, wherever she is, she is smiling and watching that this is happening.


Rest in peace, Patricia, and thank you.


Links to: John Kooistra | Mike Davenport | Alex Corscadden

Link to: Pat's Website


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