The Final Eulogy
There were two things Leeka could make any person on earth do in this world…. Think & Feel.
Elizabeth Grecz My Aunt Leeka, The Last of her name. Was A double edged personality that you could only endear. From Squirrels to Spiders, she saw all life as a vital piece of ecology. A Composting Communist & Recycling revolutionary, anyone that knew Leeka Knew she would clarify any waste management discrepancy known to man. An animal lover of unconditional magnitude, a loving homemaker of 3 dogs; Fitz, Otis & Luka with too many cats other than the most memorable Stewart to count. where her love thrived, as her nephew I would only see glimpses of the full picture, her nuclear family & fantastic group of sweet animals that would be a signal of the love my aunt had the capacity for.
Even with tensions high between big dogs in the house, she never forsake the offender. Fitz had been ripped open by Otis, a misunderstood dog with a hard upbringing that Leeka had found while avoiding the highway in an alley during her run-ins with a DUI. Otis was fortunate to be found by Leeka & would always have a home even after running away more than 10 times. Every time Otis bolted on an adventure, she’d post flyers in Albany park, while taking Otis’s brothers on the search party. She’d find Otis every time, much of the time smelling ripe of a preyed upon squirrel, always getting into the dirtiest of situations. She’d clean him up & still love Otis Unconditionally. When Both Fitz & Otis were sick, she’d pour her love to help them with eastern medicine, acupuncture & Hydro Treadmill therapy.
Leeka was a one-of-a-kind wonder that created an indistinguishably unique place in every person’s heart she encountered for better, or for worse but always especially remembered for what she did or said, for she wrote her narrative as a comedy. From debt or credit swiping an innocent bystander’s buttcrack after attending my Great Pani Natasha’s funeral, to always standing strong to the simple pleasures of everyday life most of us forget while in the fast pace rat race of life.
In many ways we never realize the impact a person has made on us until they’re gone. I personally have had more time than many to prepare for this last moment of gathering to celebrate Leeka’s Life. Since February 2020 I took an active role in organizing Leeka’s belongings and had the privilege of understanding who she was based on the story her belongings told, beyond the told story she commonly spoke.
An animal defender, cartoonist & beloved family member. A true counter culturist, an avid reader & devil’s advocate. A believer in a different path & a ruthless authentic. A person with her face on plates, 50 ash trays & more newspapers than a person could read in a century. A Sun times reader longer than I’ve been alive & a UIC Graduate, abroad traveler & out of box thinker.
I’ll never forget the story about Leeka as a kid watching TV & My Grandmother Baba asking Leeka what she was going to do with her life?. Leeka’s response, “A TV Critic”. Always a quick-witted student with an Ace up her sleeve.
An Avid Viewer of; “The Simpsons” “The Bachelorette”” The Pet Vet Dream Team” “National Geographic’s Macaque documentary series” “NHK News” “Baskets” & “Dinosaur train” …… every weeknight Late Night talk show viewer of James Cordon, John Oliver, Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon & Trevor Noah.
A Chicagoan as stubborn as any unwilling to leave the city limits of Chicago. 4 buildings up the street would be where I’d realize Leeka wasn’t going to get better. As I went to visit, I would see the sight of cancer destroying the person I’ll always hold dear & near to my hearts. Fuck cancer, it can happen to anyone 442.4 per 100,000 men and women per year will have a tragedy much like this. Having Time is something we all take for grantiids until the clock’s run up & we’re stuck thinking about what could or should have been done differently. As sad as this realization is, it’s an opportunity to let little qualms melt to the side, while reaffirming the best in life working towards the ideal goal. This goal I’d say is spending time creating moments and experiences that can be shared with love for family. Exploring unknown territory that will remain a memory until our time, Leeka was a perfect Leeka. A solid character unwilling to change foreknowing the consequences, my Aunt who would be one of the few to ever rattle my mom’s cage. A true competitor for the stage in the kitchen always bitchin about chicken.
Looking back these are some of the ripest moments we’d share together, the closest proximity that we as a family would ever share. Watching jeopardy as if it were an actual contestant, competing for the victory.
Leeka, you were my closest aunt. The aunt that I spent late spring of 2007 walking every shape of dog possible with. An outlier recipient of Funny outlandish Christmas cards from a nudist white golden Labrador owner. To introducing me to David & Valarie as the first gay couple I ever knew (without thinking anything of it). Truly she kept the world grey as many would paint as black and white back in the early 2000’s. The real progressive green party enthusiast until the end. A Humane Society contributor & Jehovah’s witness entertainer. A One of a kind that will never be forgotten and forever remembered as a true reflection of my grandfather Nicholas Greczecnecov.
From teaching me to be a more thoughtful dog owner with Frosty, to showing me her unconditional love for the animals in her care. Luka her youngest dog had also suffered from cancer & she never gave up going back to Water Treadmills resistance weight training & Chemotherapy, for the cost was never a factor. A true companion in this world for every living organism on the planet. A Rule breaker for squirrel feeding and a tester of true natural law.
In Dark times where no one was there she was, when our family was torn apart from the loss of my grandmother, she held the line & step up when I needed a foundation. I remember thinking back to 2011 when I moved in with her on Giddings, she would complain about me washing the dishes properly……well we’ll just say she taught me an unforgettable lesson XD.
Now coming to the ending years of Leeka’s Life, I’d say in her own weird way knew she was passing. And instead of sacrificing her proclivities in life, decided to go out with a bang. I’ll be honest the last home experience with her wasn’t anything pretty but instead served as a moment of humility. As I found her in the laundry room & I checked her to make sure she was conscious I would record a video I now lookback and treasure as one of the last intimate moments that I would share with Leeka. All I wanted was her to see her wrong and work towards the better. Something all of us wish for our loved ones. Making things better for the family. though it might obstruct a selfish desire, it’s an overall benefit & this is something every one of us should take notice and contribute towards more consciously.
Leeka & I had a very different relationship from many Aunts that most will have. Though she was my Aunt there was a level of respected peer ship that we shared. The spit game was a game we both knew well surprisingly & shared the nature of being a rebel to the molds of society.
A Late-night Ed Sullivan Show viewer & a Forever Big Gulp Cup Owner & Recycler. The Limeade Lover, soup sharing pet owner, a pedigree boycotter & Stratified Lover of life in its fullness.
A unique gardener with old country methods to tomatoes & pest control with chili paste water. A Tooth paste pimple applicator & Closet photographer. Though the albums weren’t organized the thought for each photo was present, urns for each of her four pets that were members of our family: Fitz, Steward, Otis & Luka Grecz! All with their own engraved Russian Orthodox Saint Tag for each member of the family. Though she wasn’t religious she understood the connection between us & the earth without a doubt.
Now the first quote that comes to mind to encapsulate the spirit of Leeka is by
― Jordan B. Peterson, Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief
“The purpose of life, as far as I can tell… is to find a mode of being that’s so meaningful that the fact that life is suffering is no longer relevant.”
She really had this part of life perfected, no matter the situation was! Her mode of meaning was to be the contrarian to the status quo who will always have the novel place in our hearts that can’t be forgotten.
Looking back the last 5 years of spending time with Leeka has been a true privilege, getting back to the basics of family is something she has always had a forte in. From Clashing Chicken dinner warfare to knowing that there are no limitations of love for family no matter how muddled the relationship is, it’s a mendable and a tethered bond between us and our life’s forebearers. The connection to our culture.
Now as I write this, I realize that this could go on forever, going over story after story to no depths end to articulate how much Leeka will be missed by all of us. As I’ve spent the last 3 days preparing for these last words to Leeka are the hardest, knowing where to end is unbearable.
What a way to go out with a bang. always remembered, and never forgotten
My Only Grecz Aunt, Leeka. The only person I’ve ever encountered who was unwilling to follow the common aunt standard & made her own identity as an aunt. Unreplaceable & unforgettable My Leeka.
Now in Closing would like us to reaffirm her life with her name 3 times.
With All My Love, eternally
Sincerely, Your Nephew…… Julian