22nd July 2001
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  • She showered love on all - Ivy R. de Saram
  • Physician and humanist - Dr. Cyril Perera
  • He was a humble man - Robert J. Cooke

  • Ivy R. de Saram

    She showered love on all

    It's not easy to condense everything you know about someone into a couple of paragraphs. Especially not when they were such a big part of your life. There is a point when words lose their effectiveness in being able to communicate the essence of a feeling. As I write on behalf of all her grandchildren, I have to acknowledge the fact that I may not accurately convey the subtle but immense effect that she had on all our lives.

    She wasn't someone who had an exuberant personality but we knew that her quiet strength spoke volumes. She never condemned any of us when we neglected to stay in touch with her as we grew up and got caught up in our lives; but received us all with open arms and kisses whenever we saw her again. I can't remember a day that went by that there wasn't a kiss in welcomes, in goodbyes or even just because she wanted to show us her affection. That was her gift. To shower affection on the ones she loved as much as she could.

    She was also the glue that bound us all together. Our darling Achchi. We all knew our place with her. We all knew that she didn't divide her love among all of us but loved each one of us with an intensity that only a grandmother's love would know. Not all of us had the privilege to grow up with her by our side. But nevertheless none of us ever felt that she loved one, more than the other.

    It's hard now to know that we cannot bask in that love anymore. As children growing up with her was a blur. And that is not to say that she wasn't a big part of it. Quite the contrary. But as a child your life tends to be as big and as full as you can imagine. There is a selfishness that always blurs all other worlds except the one that you live in. But now sitting here and remembering helps me drift into time that was magical; in that childhood home at Greenpath.

    Looking back at that time, she was always there. No matter whether it was getting over a boyfriend, to making sure we had a cup of tea to drink into late afternoons. All our friends knew her hospitality and considered Greenpath, home away from home. 

    To this day they still reminisce about the carefree hours they spent there with her hovering around to make sure all of us had what we needed.

    God was a special part of her life. Our biggest reason for not learning to swear is that she used to be behind us saying "Don't use the Lord God's name in vain" - always with a smile though. All our problems she addressed by making sure that God had an open ear to it. I know that all of us remember her prayer times as she used to recite them out loud while sitting on her favourite chair at the end of the corridor. Of course there were moments when God would have been confused too as she kept mixing up the names with the respective problems! But I'm sure God understood her. Especially since we all somehow got our solutions and got onto the next part of our lives. 

    Christmas and birthdays were never and will never be the same again. Although we keep drinking the Milk Wine that she used to laboriously make, we don't have the chance any more to hear her complaining that uncle Hareen was stealing her arrack bottles or see her sitting down in front of them watching them trickle to a full. Everything she did was coated in love and those special occasions took on a magical air because of it. So I write these words to remember her and honour her memory, simply and honestly. We all loved her with all of our hearts and miss her dearly. May her spirit be at peace and in oneness with God and her presence always in our hearts.

    Niroshanee Amerasekera

    Dr. Cyril Perera

    Physician and humanist

    The fifth death anniversary of a noble and great physi cian, who was a "martyr" towards his profession, fell on July 14. I refer to Dr. Cyril Perera.

    I had the privilege of knowing him for over a decade, originally as a patient, and later on, more closely, as he referred to me affectionately as 'my son'. He was a physician cum humanist 'par excellence', belonging to a calibre, one rarely finds in the medical profession today. Despite his great knowledge of medicine, he was very humble.

    With him the practice of medicine, was a service to humanity, and not a reason to profit as very often I noticed him not charging a fee. He loved his profession and devoted his life towards that goal. His departure has left a vacuum, which is very difficult to fill.

    During my long association with him, I have yet to recall him speaking evil of anyone, even if any individual spoke ill of him. 

    It is my prayer that his deeds would be enumerated by the members of today's medical profession, as Dr. Cyril's name continues to remain in the hearts of the people who received his unsolicited kindness.

    Amyn Chatoor

    Robert J. Cooke

    He was a humble man

    Though little was known in the wide community about Robert J. Cooke whose fourth death anniversary was in June, he was appreciated by those who closely associated with him.

    Mr. Cooke was unassuming but in his own humble and simple way, influenced many a friend and acquaintance. He helped them in his capacity not only as a government clerical officer but also as a defending officer in the case of public servants who were charged on disciplinary matters. Mr. Cooke touched the lives of others through his friendliness and goodness. He spoke English, Sinhala and Tamil fluently. 

    Being born, bred and educated in Anuradhapura, he touched the hearts of many and was affectionately known as Cooke Mahathmaya. He shared both the joys and sorrows of his acquaintances and friends. 

    After his retirement from government service in 1988, he migrated to Australia with his wife, to join his children who had already taken up residence there. After the death of his beloved wife, Eunice, in 1992, Mr. Cooke continued to live with his children in Australia until his own death. While living in Australia, he never failed to visit his motherland every year until his death, in keeping with the saying, "Wherever you may roam there is nowhere like home".

    B. Jansen

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