Reflections on Jackie
by Sr. Clare Walsh, Floating Hospital
Jackie's Eulogy 2/22/90
Of one thing I am certain: Everyone in this church has a Jackie Pequita story. We each know a piece of this valiant young woman, and it is my privilege to share something of my Jackie story. Others who know better than me of her playfulness and passion for life, can take comfort from that. I take great comfort in a young woman who was attentive to God's surprises.
Although Jackie believed leukemia was not of God, she did believe that God could bring good from it, and God did so with a great deal of help from Jackie. When leukemia forced months of isolation in a sterile hospital room, she turned it into a 17 year-old's dream with New Kids on the Block staring from every corner, and cards and balloons from friends surrounding her.
When Jackie lost her hair to chemotherapy, a special hat became her trademark. Her presence made her room a sanctuary and nurses vied to care for her, for we all took from her spirit.
I take great comfort in the power that one person struggling for life had to inspire the staff, patients, and families in a place affectionately known to many as the Floating Hospital. She was for all who spent time there, a source of amazing grace.
I take great comfort in a young woman whose life was centered around God. A daughter, a sister, a niece, a cousin, a friend who prayed each day for those who hoped for health and for whom being confirmed and being Sarah's Godmother, became the focus of her energy and her dream - an event in which Jackie truly presided and whose courage made all around her tremble.
I take great comfort in the strength of a frightened, courageous teenager, who when told she would die, said unselfishly as she lived, "Tell Julie and Chris I'll take care of Alison" (a 22 month-old child fighting a horrible cancer).
I take great comfort in my young friend who, anticipating heaven, asked me if there was anything I would like her to mention to God. And, oh, there was, and she listened attentively as I entrusted to her the concerns of my heart.
I take great comfort in the faith of Jackie, who believed that nothing is unholy, everything is charged by the presence of God and who, on the day before she died, hosted a birthday party for her uncle in her hospital room, as if to tell us, life goes on, keep celebrating.
I pray that Jackie and God will enjoy each other, and that nothing of her life will be lost but be held sacred by we who loved her.
Her mom often referred to her daughter as a class act and, indeed, she was.
Holy is the name of God. Holy was the young woman named Jackie.
We would like to thank everyone who made a donation to Jackie's Memorial Fund, which has been used for New Bedford High School Scholarships, New England Medical Center’s Floating Hospital for Children, and for helping families dealing with childhood cancers.