For Roseland, a daughter, delicate and dainty
This Christmas Eve she would have turned eighty;
Nalini to some and Kusum to another
To Samanthi and Sidath, a wonderful mother.
Soft-spoken and charming, amongst friends so popular
She sailed to the United States as a Fulbright scholar
Armed with a Master’s and homeward bound,
For the British Council Library, a chief was found.
Though marriage came late, she made a pretty bride;
As her flower girl, I gazed at my aunt with pride;
In Uncle Percy she found her life’s soulmate,
A forty-seven year union, as decreed by fate.
At the pinnacle of her career she was presented to the Queen,
But no arrogance or haughtiness ever was seen;
Good health was denied her as illness began its rise
Until that final fall which led to her sad demise.
Hidden talents blossomed with verses in poetry
Stringing beads on chains, jewellery and tapestry;
Creative was she, commercial she was not,
Giving freely to charity and to those who had not.
To stray cats and dogs she opened doors for shelter;
Her mission in life was to free cattle from slaughter;
A strict vegetarian for years, she loved those lesser beings,
Following Buddhist philosophy – a very special human being.
In more ways than one, she touched my life and heart;
Enriched by her I stand as she now departs;
May she be my aunt again as we journey through Sansara,
Till she attains everlasting peace in that oasis of Nibbana.
Dr. Rasieka Jayatunga