On Sept. 11, the Upsilon Chapter at Oregon State University lost one of their loved sisters, and we as Sigma Kappa women lost one of our sisters. As I was on the plane heading to the Upsilon Chapter for the first time, I didn’t know what to expect. What I saw on Sept. 16, minutes after walking into the house, changed my life in the most positive way. I want to share with you all my experience at the Upsilon Chapter. What you might think is a completely upsetting topic, in return uplifted me and the women around me. Here’s the story of a sister, Tatiana Ofa, who is being remembered in a beautiful way.
I, not being a member of the Upsilon Chapter, felt a connection with these women. A memorial service was held in the chapter house, and all of the Panhellenic community was invited. The turnout was great; so much support was present. The memorial service did include some tears, but they were absolutely joyous tears. To be honest, there were more laughs that filled the room than tears at one point, which turned the service into a celebration of a wonderful life.
Telling stories reminds us of the good memories. The Upsilon sisters all sat in their formal living room taking turns sharing stories. These stories were HAPPY, funny, cheerful, heartwarming and inspiring. The story telling was great; surprisingly, they were the simplest stories, topics that come up in our daily lives. Her love for family, her love for friendship, and how she was a great team player in any sports activity for philanthropic events or just for fun!
Making a scrapbook became a memorable sisterhood experience. In the Upsilon Chapter recreation room, lay pages and pages of scrapbook designed paper, markers, scissors, and of course, pictures of memories. The scrapbook had a special component, the messages and the stories that filled pages written about experiences that women had shared with Tatiana. Once the scrapbook is finally complete, the Upsilon Chapter will pass the scrapbook on to her family, because a sympathy card saying how much Tatiana touched each and every one of their lives wouldn’t do justice.
The chapter women piled into a bus, and headed to the funeral in Portland. The women wore an aqua ribbon with a pearl pin. “Light blue was Tatiana’s favorite color,” a chapter member said. “We wore them because she would have wanted it that way.”
Concluding the memorial of Tatiana, the entire Greek Community at Oregon State University arrived at 8 p.m. sharp to the Sigma Kappa house for a candlelight walk around the community. Ladies, I can’t begin to tell you how beautiful and memorable this ceremony was. It wasn’t extraordinary for the words that were spoken, or the amount of flowers presented to the chapter, but the silence and the hundreds, I mean hundreds of fraternity men and sorority women that made a path for every Sigma Kappa woman to walk through to show their support. Beautiful is an understatement. It was a life-changing experience I, and the women of the Upsilon Chapter, will never forget.
Lastly, several women came up to me and said they were sorry I had to visit the chapter on this sad occasion, and I replied, “I am honored to be surrounded by such an amazing sisterhood that I would have been sad if I never got to meet.”
Forever and always, one heart one way.