ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, June 24, 2007
Vol. 42 - No 04

A remarkable lady and a mother to all

Irene Wijesundere

Adieu to a soul so full of love and warmth

My feet on the sandy soil, I stood watching the blazing ball of red and gold, dipping, ebbing out of my sight and reach into the deep, deep sea. The horizon sprayed with golden rays now slowly fading and a curtain of darkness enfolding.

Here, now standing on the cold grey cement floor I watch that glowing sun, alas! Trapped in a wooden casket, hands thrusting shoving into a bowl of blazing embers. Then, rises a wisp of smoke, slowly ascending to the skies whispering a fond farewell –

There goes a mother, a soul so full of radiance, love and warmth. The sun has set - but for me a wishful, hopeful sunrise of another birth with you – Amma.

This appreciation is about my extraordinary mother who lived a rich and long life of 91 years. I believe that however expected the death of an elderly parent could be, the separation from the beloved is painful. Each passing day would lessen the grief, but the loss to my brother Ajita and me would remain indefinitely, after all these years together. Although we have lost a much adored person, her rich and rare qualities would be lovingly kept everyday, not only by us but by those who were close to her as well.

It is fortunate that we were able to have a very caring, loving and affectionate mother with us for so long, thanks to the excellent medical care, which she could have had no better, provided by my sister-in-law Anula, for which I am most thankful and ever grateful. My thanks also to my brother for all what he did, which was very much more than what I could have ever done for her.

Prior to her death her mobility was greatly reduced from the active life she led, and she was mostly confined to bed. However, when it came to an important family event she made it a point to be present, and would sit for long hours, not wanting to go home in a hurry. Even in bed she was always cheerful, well groomed and so full of life. Inspite of her condition her mind was alert, and she could even remember the telephone numbers of her constant callers without referring to the index.

To all those who came in close contact with her she left a lasting impression in their minds. I am sure they would agree that she was a remarkable lady with a large heart, fun loving and a mother to all. She was a rare jewel among our relatives and friends and above all a lady par excellence. Her kindness had no limits. She carried a special charm and her friendly personality endeared her to those who were fortunate enough to come in contact with her. She will be fondly remembered and cherished by many who knew her.

She loved her family and was a devoted wife, caring mother, mother-in-law, grandmother and great-grandmother. Her life was full of love and affection to all concerned, and equally to her daughters-in-law with whom she was able to bond strongly, especially as she had no daughters, and for them I am certain there would never be another.

When her brother and sister-in-law died nearly 50 years ago, she took charge of their five young children, with the blessings of my father at that time, shouldering the responsibilities with courage and determination and was a mother to them and saw to their welfare, which only a few in this world would have ever done.

The last time my daughter Menaka flew down from the US and when she was leaving Archchi cried and said that she will never see her again, to which my daughter replied, “Archchi, you have told this to me each time I came to see you, and it will not be so.” This time unfortunately, happened to be the last.

When Menaka explained to her six-year-old son that Loku Archchi had passed away, his first reaction was, “ I am very sad as she was my favourite in Sri Lanka.”

She always loved to entertain and her home was an open house till the very last. She was generous and always gave to those deserving. She had a very sympathetic and understanding nature, especially with her domestic aides and the less fortunate. Towards the latter period of her life she did not forget the domestic who had been very faithful to her for years and who attended to her, administering her medicines on time and who was a tower of strength to her. She saw to his future well-being and amply compensated him. She was extremely happy that she was able to accomplish her obligations prior to her death, to show her gratitude which was a fantastic gesture. That was the concern and kindness she had for the less privileged.

The large crowd that paid their respects at her funeral and the number of expressions of sympathy that we are still receiving bears ample testimony to a wonderful human being who touched many lives. It was a good fortune for my brother and me to have had such affectionate and caring parents, to guide us on the correct path of life for which we are both greatly indebted.
No matter whether we are together or apart, fond memories of her abound, always close and forever cherished and she will always be remembered with deep reverence, undying affection and a huge debt of gratitude. We will also always cherish the pleasant and happy times we have shared throughout the years. She leaves us lonely and sad but proud, with unforgettable memories which will remain alive forever.

May she attain the Supreme Bliss of Nirvana which she richly deserves and we hope someday somewhere we will meet again.

By Shantilal.

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Copyright 2007 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.